Do effective, tough conversations help build great teams?

Scene: First 3 months of my team leadership @one of my earlier organizations. My boss & his boss (also my role model on leadership), called me for a closed-door glass cabin meet in the bay where my team was seated- physically at their desktops but virtually in the cabin.
Action: I walked in for an applause. Yes!
Surprise: “Shivani, why has Mr. X resigned?” I was held accountable for it!
Drama: “Shivani, please understand, you’re here ‘coz of your own merit. You’re brilliant, but you need to develop leadership skills.”
Reaction: I looked out- My team’s smiles said it all. Felt defeated, but I decided to call a team meet.
Result: It was tough to do a meeting where all else except me seemed winners. But, effective, tough conversation made by my role model invoked worthy actions from me.

Learnings: It’s never a good feeling to live through a story where you’re solely made accountable-but great leadership asks of us high degree of heroism on accountability. I realized-only way forward in such situations is not by justifying old actions but through new worthy actions.

How do you do effective, tough conversations?

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