We are often warned that with power comes great responsibility.
Just like their male counterparts, females in positions of power must have tough conversations if they are to thrive.
However, as a woman, there is more scrutiny that comes with decisive action, which can make it a traumatic experience instead of it being ‘a part of the job’.
Difficult conversations are tough enough but for women they can be extra challenging. The stereotype society holds for people in a position of power, which are predominantly males, can make women feel as though they need to ‘play it safe’ when they do actually make it into a leadership role.
Tough conversations can certainly throw a spanner in the works when you’re focusing on being liked or feeling like you have to prove or justify every decision that’s made.
So, if you are a woman in a position of power (or about to be) here are some guidelines on the three most difficult conversations you will most likely face throughout your career.
1. Resistance to change
It is a common fact that employees dislike changes within an organisation (in fact, humans in general dislike change altogether).
They fear their job security may be a thing of the past and as a result often resist any efforts by the organisation to implement change.
Unfortunately, if one is to survive (adapt or die), change is inevitable and there are ways to handle the difficult conversations that may arise as a result.
Try and avoid the ‘it’s my way or the high way’ attitude. Keep the communication channels open at all times. Employees need to fully understand why the change is occurring and how it is affecting them.
You can remain firm with employees while still understanding their fears and treating them respect. Remember, it is not necessarily what you say but ‘how you say it’.
Of course, if your team is being negative for negativity’s sake, there is little you can do except keep moving forward.
2. You’re not doing a good job
No doubt you have experienced this before: staff who seem to avoid all responsibility or are full of excuses as to why they are not doing the job they were hired to do.
Take this on a case by case basis, and first understand why they are behaving this way. Asking questions to better understand an employee’s desires, skills and fears can paint a picture of why they are not performing well.
Don’t wait around for your employees to self-motivate or find direction. You must give them a vision and find ways to keep them motivated towards it.
You should always ensure that each employee is clear about what is expected of them, their responsibilities and their specific contribution toward your business and the wider team.
On the flip side, if they do not improve, have a frank conversation about whether they feel this particular role is suited to them.
Who knows, they may be a better fit in another department… or even the exit.
Hiring friends is dangerous. There is a reason why people always – and I mean ALWAYS – say ‘never hire friends and family’.
The main reason is that there is a sense of entitlement which often results in that friend (or family member) doing less than what is required of them. Another danger is to befriend people that are below you in the business hierarchy.
You are in business to do business, not to make friends. It is okay to be friendly but as soon as you start mixing your business world with your personal life, things can start to unravel.
Being a woman, this is a hard thing to do. Women, by nature, like to be on friendly terms with everyone. So expect any conversations with people who were once your friends to not end well. Being clear that the business comes first will almost guarantee you are labelled as an unemotional bitch.
That’s okay. This is not personal; it’s business, after all.
Author bio: Amanda Rose works with business owners, CEO’s and HR Managers to help them navigate the many issues blocking an individual, team or company from succeeding. Amanda is popular on the international stage, having worked multiple times with the US Embassy and Consulate. She was on the International Visitor Leadership Program and recently conducted a Diplomacy Delivered program – both for the Embassy. She’s a regular presenter on The Drum and an internationally published author in multiple publications and her own blog. Her initiatives have local, state and federal government support and her advice is sought all over the world.
This article was originally published on A Girl In Progress.