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[EP 49] Leading change and having difficult conversations: What if you open a can of worms?

by | 7 Jun, 2022

Do you avoid having awkward conversations? As a leader, what comes to mind when you think about, for example, making someone redundant? 

I’ve had so many leaders ask me “What if they cry?” or “What if I open a can of worms and don’t know what to do?

In this episode, I tell the story of what happened when I coached one large retail organisation through massive organisational change, and I share why making space for people to air their feelings out loud – even, and perhaps particularly, when the content is difficult – makes change much easier to manage.

Let’s think about:

  • When you try to shut down people’s complaints and feelings down they don’t go away; in fact often they will just get stronger.
  • People won’t be upset for long if they are feeling heard, but they can stay upset for years when they believe no one listened.
  • Most people will make an internal shift for themselves if you give them a forum to be heard.
  • You lose loyalty if you don’t allow people to have their feelings. 
  • If you want people to feel anything, you have to let them feel everything.
  • The container matters – don’t let those worms wriggle free! Set up a safe container to hold space for people’s feelings.

And remember, when you show people compassion they will thank you, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

If this is a conversation you would like to continue, come over to and drop me a line. I’d be so happy to support you with this.

And remember, now is a great time to breathe. 


Step forward with courage and confidence without sacrificing who you are or what you believe in

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