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When Nobody Wants To Tell The Boss

As a leader, staying comfortable by staying quiet is a selfish act.

Who will tell the boss? Many teams know something should be said regarding a leader’s behavior or actions. But, since nobody wants to do it, the boss never gets critical feedback and nothing ever changes. What would happen if someone stepped up? Even if that person is not comfortable with confrontation, could it make a difference?

I know a woman who is not comfortable with confrontation. It’s part of her personality. Like a lot of people, she stuffs her issues down. She is not alone. The thought of an uncomfortable moment creates anxiety for most people. Like many others, this young woman got in the habit of swallowing hard and driving on. Unfortunately, she has a father and a grandfather who challenged her on the habit. You see, this woman is my daughter, Samantha.

My daughter is blessed to be a college volleyball player. She arrived at college with a great attitude, a strong work ethic and a fear of confrontation. Her volleyball coach, on the other hand, was direct and didn’t mince words. This coach needed someone bold enough to step up and confront her.

Samantha called me during her freshman year regarding a team issue. Some of her teammates had come to her for advice and she, in turn, called me. My advice was simple: “Tell the coach.” There was a long pause on the other end of the line. I knew what she was thinking, “I should have called mom!” But, she knew speaking directly with her coach was exactly what she needed to do.

During her freshman and sophomore seasons, Samantha continued to call me for advice. Most of the time I listened and asked one question, “What do you think needs to be done?” She knew the answer. At first, she tried to find ways to avoid approaching her coach. But, she put aside her fears and comfort to do what needed to be done.