David L Kennedy D.Min.
Many leaders at AdventHealth avoid holding those they are leading accountable through hard conversations. This affects both the performance of the team they are leading, as well as the organizational health of the hospital. As this project demonstrated, it can also affect the mental health of the leader, leading to feelings of isolation and shame. This problem was addressed through a twelve-week intervention on how to navigate accountability conversations consisting of reading, group meetings, role-playing, and mentoring. The project utilized a qualitative, phenomenological method to explore the lived experiences of each of the participants. The specific behavioral changes sought were decreased avoidance of crucial conversations and an increase in perceived effectiveness at navigating them. Participants were selected using the Style Under Stress Assessment (SUSA), setting a baseline for avoidance and perceived effectiveness. Pre- and post-project semi-structured interviews were also conducted, and participants took the SUSA again after the intervention to determine whether avoidance had decreased and perceived effectiveness had increased. The result was that participants not only increased in their perceived effectiveness and decreased their avoidance of these difficult discussions, but feelings of isolation were replaced with relational connection and shame was replaced with “tentative confidence”.