As I ran over the Williamsburg Bridge watching the Manhattan skyline come into view this weekend, I congratulated myself for trying a new running route, pausing to snap a picture or two, and calling myself a runner.
I also noticed the graffiti, “I’m happy you’re here, keep going!”
I’m happy I’m here, too. I’m happy to move my body. I’m happy to have a fitness routine that I can do anywhere. I’m happy to have the chance to check in to see if my heart and head are aligned.
Many days I don’t want to run. I don’t want to push myself to get out the door. I don’t want to face the cold, heat, dark or rain.
And yet, I push myself to run. I push myself to do something hard. It feels good to pound the pavement. It feels good to let my mind go wherever it needs to go. It feels great to have an idea pop into my head about how to address what’s pulling at me.
Yesterday, a situation was pulling hard. I needed to have a potentially tough conversation and had to decide how to approach it. I’ve had lots of tough conversations in my over 30 years in leadership roles. No two are ever the same and none have been easy.
I usually rely on a combination of two frameworks I learned from Kim Scott’s book Radical Candor* and the Crucial Conversations book by Grenny, J. et al.**. I learned from both books that I have a better chance of success if I siphon out extraneous thoughts and emotions, get crystal clear on what to say, and practice saying it in a direct, kind way.
And…voilá the graffiti spoke to me – I’m happy you’re here. That’s it. I needed to frame the conversation around how much value she brings to the team. Not a false framing to make the feedback easier to stomach. An authentic conversation about how the team benefits by her expertise, experience, and connections and how the team feels offended by her approach.
It seemed so simple once I worked it through. I love how running helped me figure out a way forward. Running – I’m happy you’re here.
*Grenny, J., Patterson, K., McMillan, R., Switzler, A., and Gregory, E.. Crucial Conversations. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2023)
**Scott, K.,Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss without Losing Your Humanity. (New York: McMillian, 2019)