The Mindset of Savage Conversations

Image of businesswoman manager and man having a savage conversation - leadership life coaching

There I was staring straight at Ashley who was furious with one of my managers. Her eyes were inflamed, her teeth were puncturing her lip and her arms were crossed sealed with Lock-tight. The emotion was about to burst like a hot summer water balloon.

I knew in that moment. It was too late. It was my fault. I had put this team member in the situation by not having a savage conversation. I had allowed my manager’s leadership to falter without addressing how his actions were impacting the team. I choose comfortability. Now my world was extremely uncomfortable.  

We have plenty of conversations with the people we lead and manage. Yet it is the ones we do not have that create the uncomfortable situation I was in. There is much leadership coaching and training on having strong or fierce conversations. There is tremendous value and impact these conversations will have on your team, personal relationships and success of your goal or vision.

I like the word “savage conversations” as it fully expresses the primitive, raw and real  approach that leaders must take to effectively take ownership of their teams and empower their people to achieve great results.

Either be savage or soft?  It is the choice all leaders make daily.

Before you jump off a broken bridge – confronted in your mind of those conversations you have avoided – it is important to understand how the bridge was broken in the first place. What was going through my mind? Why didn’t I have that savage conversation? More important why are their countless leaders who daily avoid these conversations knowing they need to have them?

The answer starts with understanding Mindset. Leaders often recognize and see actions that are not aligned with the mission, vision or values. However, it is their mindset that prevents them from getting into savage action. Here are the 3 mindsets that all leaders must overcome.

  1. I am not sure what will happen. FEAR is the driver – They are afraid of the outcome. They are afraid of the conversation. Confrontation may fracture the existing relationship or create an uncomfortable environment.
  2. This will cause internal and external stress. Difficult conversations are just that, difficult. We are forced to address issues or situations that are not meeting shared expectations. This creates internal stress that we do not want to face. It may also create external change that we are not ready or willing to embrace and own.
  3. I am not qualified. The Imposter Syndrome kicks in. They feel like an imposter as not equipped or qualified to have the savage conversation. Their mindset is filled with self-doubt.


Are these broken bridge mindsets all too familiar? I struggled with all of these into my late twenties. Anytime a confrontational situation arose there were legions of butterflies in my belly. I would overthink the conversation often regretting something I wished I had said. I was self-conscience,  too concerned about hurting the relationship rather than standing firm on what was right. I had told myself I just was not good enough to handle these tough situations with right balance of empathy and authority.

This was evident in my personal and leadership relationships. Sound familiar?

So, what shifted? What changed. If the problem starts with mindset, then the answer rests with mindset.

I created a new bridge that started with the GrowthTime mindset. I decided that these conflicts and challenges were being placed in my path so that I could GROW! (in fact, the Great Growth Coach – God himself – even gave me this memo!) It was evident that I needed growth in this area of personal and professional leadership. I changed my mindset to stop running from the pain and choosing passive avoidance. I would run to it. It was my time to grow.

Each opportunity was not necessarily about the outcome but rather was I going to improve on having savage, raw conversations. I began to look for issues to confront that did not meet my personal expectations or the leadership goal that was established. I would practice and get feedback until I improved on this skill.

Yes. It is a skill that all can learn. Having a GrowthTime! mindset will allow you to increase in effectiveness and not having to deal with the uncomfortable situation of irate team members.

Good new is that you can do it too. It starts with being savage and raw with yourself and embracing a GrowthTime mindset. Sprint across this new bridge and see your leadership begin to soar.

It’s GrowthTime!
Coach Q

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