Of the many books I have read on leadership and communication, Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott has really stood out to me over the years. Although it has been at least five years since I read the book, the points she makes about open and honest communication have resonated deeply with me. In Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott writes about a type of communication that is robust, intense, powerful and unbridled. She calls this communication “fierce.” Fierce conversations demand that we have the courage to be powerful communicators; and powerful communicators know that “the conversation is not about the relationship – the conversation is the relationship.” The quality of our relationships at work and at home relates directly to the quality of our communication, and the key to having quality communication is to be real and extremely honest – even though it may be outside of our comfort zone.
Of the seven principles laid out in the book, one that struck a chord with me was principle number two: “come out from behind yourself into the conversation and make it real.” According to Scott, when we get real with the people in our lives we avoid unnecessary costs to our business and our relationships. A business that supports real interaction opens itself to feedback, and gets excited about improving to be the best of the best. Being real in conversations gets us away from the judgments we place on other people because we have to be real with ourselves first. By coming out from behind ourselves and getting away from judgments, we save ourselves and our organizations invaluable time and money. Instead of excuses or finger pointing, people begin to take accountability for their own communication. So often we lack the courage to be real in our communication and we create additional headaches for ourselves. I find myself pointing this out over and over to a wide variety of coaching clients who have trouble seeing that the real issue they are confronting lies with the communication between the parties, and being real in my communication with clients is the single most important piece of a successful coaching relationship.
The other six principles provide great information and learning, and will serve you as a person – not just you as a business person or you in your personal world. Scott correctly points out that it doesn’t matter where we are or what hat we have on – good communication serves us in every part of our life. Be sure to read Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations for more information on how to have conversations that change lives. If you want more information on communication that leads to successful outcomes be sure to drop us an email at Corinne@edgeofchange.com