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Courageously Competent Conversations

In any organisation, there may be a need for courageous conversations, especially when a psychologically safe environment is absent. In such situations, I encourage you to consider the concept of “competent courage”. Competent courage requires that you speak in a persuasive, powerful and respectful way that does not offend (Detert, 2021).

To prepare for these conversations, you may wish to consider the following four steps:

  1. Research the issue thoroughly, ensuring that your presentation is grounded in facts and supported by evidence.
  2. Choose the battles that are worth fighting. In every workplace, there are various issues that arise, and it’s important to decide which ones are important and beneficial for the organisation.
  3. Timing is critical, so think carefully about when and with whom it would be appropriate to raise the issue.
  4. Speaking up is the first step. Once you speak up, know that the matter (if handled correctly) will follow a tried, tested, and ethical process, and you may be called again to provide further insights.

I firmly believe that courage is a learned behaviour. Do you think you are ready to have a courageously competent conversation?


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