Comfortable with being Uncomfortable

Jeni Clift

This is one of the “Healthy Rules” when I run an EOS session – Comfortable with being Uncomfortable. I believe it is also a really important life lesson. And one that I often have to remind myself in my role of People & Culture.

It may be having a difficult conversation with someone around low performance, but as I keep telling my team – it’s better to have had that conversation and work with someone who is willing to step up than to be firing them!

It may be letting someone know that we are not offering them a position they have applied for and been interviewed, as I have had to do recently.  I could have sent an email but decided instead to pick up the phone and have an uncomfortable conversation.

In an EOS session it can be as simple as differing views; or something that really needs to be said ‘For The Good of the Business’; or several people wanting the same role, at which point we go to what is effectively a live performance review – and that can be really interesting.  It can be hard to facilitate, often uncomfortable for those in the room watching on and even more uncomfortable for the people at the heart of the discussion.

But it is a really important part of the process.

As Leaders we need to learn this skill and how to manage our responses, our ego, our language, to ensure we are not personally attacking someone or taking things personally. We also need to embrace this skill so we can teach it to our team, to ensure we are promoting a culture where people are willing to say what needs to be said, to hear what needs to heard and to manage themselves while sitting in the midst of one of those conversations.

We have some new people in our business who either started earlier in the year or in the last week or two. The feedback from them is how open and honest we are as a team, how comfortable people are at giving shout outs, calling out behaviour or to suggest improvements. It has taken us time to develop this culture, and as a person who is not overly patient that has been a learning in itself, but Oh So worth the effort!

When we ask the question “What is Not working in the business” as part of the EOS quarterly process we get some awesome ideas, and some not so awesome one’s as well, that we can brainstorm as a team to figure out solutions to issues. If we didn’t ask the question and didn’t have the open and honest culture, our business would look very different.


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