Leadership Mindset: Courage, Conflict, & COIN

Imagine the typical 9:00am status meeting. Some people are finishing up a bite to eat, others are running to print last minute copies – there is chatter about weekends and cumbersome upcoming projects as stragglers find their seats. The meeting starts at 9:15, there is some half-prepared presentation that is greeted by dead air. The meeting concludes and the team starts another day no different than the one before. The entire scene is rather apathetic.

Leading a team takes courage. Constantly pushing to be heard, communicating difficult news, choosing to address sensitive subjects and point out breakdowns. Most importantly to take action and challenge the status quo – even if voicing your perspective creates conflict.

Avoiding conflict does not create harmony and unity. Letting poor performance go without feedback or not exploring diverse perspectives leads to stagnation. It allows for individuals to assume that the existing culture is the expectation and the current behavior is acceptable.

To escape a stagnant routine ask yourself: So what will you do differently? The first step is your own presence. Assess where you need to have courage and model the behavior you want your team to adopt.

The second is to communicate! You cannot change deeply ingrained organizational habits alone. Expect resistance as change is an emotional learning process; but with the right preparation having the courage to start a difficult dialogue is possible. The COIN Framework is an excellent tool to to help you inspire change and set a new standard. Let’s take a closer look at the conversation that needs to take place around that unproductive morning meeting.

⇒ The Context (What, where, when, and whom)
• The productivity of the 9:00am Status Meeting and its participants

⇒What I Observed Was
• I observed that the meeting started late
• I observed that the team was not prepared
¤ Last minute copies
¤ Poor presentation
• I observed that the team was not engaged
¤ No comments after presentation
¤ Finishing breakfast
¤ Helpful conversation was unstructured (i.e. weekends and upcoming projects)

⇒ The Impact of That Was
• The meeting was unproductive
• The team did not receive the right clarity to perform their role
• The meeting was an energy drainer

⇒ The Future Need Is
• For the meetings to start on time and every participant is prepared for their role
• Team members come without distractions
• Team members to collaborate on material that needs to be covered and set a standard agenda for future meetings
• Team members given the freedom to explore creative ways to express main points during meeting
• Input and feedback to be expected from each member

To be a courageous leader is to not allow mediocrity to be the norm. Instead of the mindset of avoidance seek to identify a problem, analyze the reality and the desired outcome, and take action.