You might recognize that it is hard to open up sometimes on important and sensitive issues, as a boss or towards a boss. You might agree in the meeting but internally not feel fully convinced. It could also be that you are seeing an objection that you don’t want to broadcast openly. In my position as a trusted advisor, people dare to open up to me. Sometimes it feels like listening to confessions. It helps tremendously to get down to the nuts and the bolds of any issue and to get the unvarnished feedback and thoughts. I consider it my sacred duty to keep the highest standards of integrity and at the same time bring those unspoken views into good use.
I see three benefits of these modern confessions:
1. Management can learn from it
People dare say more to me. I sometimes get messages that would not be conveyed to the management directly. The unspoken truth and hidden issues. I make sure this feedback is heard (while keeping confidentiality) and keep the leadership sharp. In my trusted advisor role with management, it is key that they see feedback as a gift, not as a threat. Recently a big transformation in an African company faced a lot of resistance. I was told the true reason. Management took it seriously and wasn’t defensive. That helped us to work on real solutions.
2. People get re-energized
I believe in the power of sharing and being listened to. A manager thought she did not “perform” well enough. ‘I have only limited speaking time in meetings. I am an introvert, I need to think first. Introverts are less apt for leadership’. Through sharing her story and being listened to, she regained confidence to lead in her (introverted) way.
3. Magic can happen
Modern confessions are neither religious nor mystical, yet some magic can happen. Those open talks enable new insights and ideas to emerge. New space is created.
Looking at your working context, do you have someone you can confess to? What would you gain from confessing to a listening ear more often? And what would the confession be about?
Written by Michel Barth, Founder Betterpreneurs.