Change starts with me…

I have read crucial conversations in the past (more than once) so I am familiar with it but it wasn’t until I reread it again this term with a new lens in light of the Influencer Model and 4DX, that I realized the process really works so well together. Crucial Conversations is about controlling your emotions just like a differentiated leader needs to regulate their anxiety. In the past when engaged in a crucial conversation, I focused so much on the STATE of the conversation (Share, Tell, Ask, Talk, Encourage) , that I had difficulty at times remaining calm during these heated discussions. How interesting that I never even considered the desired outcome had anything to do with controlling my emotions and feelings (the characteristics of a self-differentiated leader)! Effective leadership is not about skills or traits, but about regulating one’s anxiety. A self-differentiated leader stays outside of the emotional chaos but remains persistent, headstrong and calm in the storm. I now believe after this study that this is the area I need to focus most on as I move forward with the innovation plan implementation. Crucial conversations will absolutely need to happen (multiple times I am sure) but I feel even more strongly that I will be faced with some emotional triangles (“drama”) and I tend to be extra sensitive to others discomfort. And unfortunately not in the COVA approach way either – but am prone to want to “fix” that discomfort for others. Perhaps this is why I have been experiencing so much burnout? Between the emotional triangles, the whirlwinds and the sabotage, I have felt unable to make any real, positive change. This is where I am beginning to connect some very important dots…crucial conversations will become necessary as my blended learning initiative begins as some will have strong emotions and opposing views. That is where I need to stay connected to my community of learners yet be able to rise above and remember the purpose (the WIG!). I need to hold onto my values, keep my emotions in check and my eyes on the prize. I have been called headstrong before and have experienced sabotage – so now I think I need to go back and thank those people because I must have been doing something right! As a self-differentiated leader, I need to possess the willingness to be vulnerable and open to making changes and adjusting as needed to reach the desired goal while resisting those emotional triangles or losing control of my emotions. Using the Crucial Conversation strategy of starting with the heart, make it safe, state my path, learn to look – it all starts with ME! I feel more prepared to take on this challenge though and am thankful that these valuable tools are starting to manifest themselves already in my daily job.

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