Demonstrate hands for those who value great communication, transparency and being fair and honest. I’m going to get out on a branch and I guess you’d all say yes. Now, keep that hand if you’re great at the things you value: communication, transparency, and honesty. Have you raised your hand yet? Every time someone asks that question in a group, more than half of the group slowly lower their hand and look around with that “a, guilty” look. It’s normal. Conversations are tough — difficult — and there are so many factors that help make it hard: ego, unwillingness to hurt feelings, insecurity, limiting beliefs, lack of trust, and the list goes on.
Although I am not an expert in the field of hard conversations, I have certainly done a lot errors Avoiding them or coming into a conversation I wasn’t proud of in the past, I’m proud to be able to have them, and it’s often the advice my friends ask me for.
With the help of therapy, a lot Dare the Leader Brené Brown’s podcast is listened to, and with some tough conversations, here’s how I’ve been on the last five stages and how I’ve managed them.
Scenario: Last year, I felt a little disconnected with a hurt friend. Whatever the reasons, I knew I wasn’t feeling well and I didn’t want to lose my friendship. When we went to lunch, I just said, “I feel like we could get away right now, I don’t know if that’s true, but I value our friendship and I want to make sure we have a break to talk about anything. It helps strengthen. How do you feel?”
My heart ran all the time. I had so many scenarios in my head that were too long to list. The key to this conversation was to stay curious and know how he felt.
I love being asked, “Do you have any specific examples that have led you to feel this way?” In my response, I didn’t point my fingers, but shared what I felt at the time. This allowed us to unlock deeper concerns and have an open conversation.
In the end, we both felt a little disconnected, but for no particular reason other than life, children, and a pandemic, and we were committed to prioritizing investment in our time and each other’s lives. We got there saying, “You are an important person in my life and I want to invest more time in this friendship, which is …”
Basically, we have redefined our friendship, which makes perfect sense after more than 10 years because we are growing and evolving as human beings.
Lesson: Be curious, listen to the other person’s answers and don’t judge those answers. Their truth is their experience, and the goal is to build the next step or chapter. There was no one here to win or try to win each other over, we both wanted to understand each other’s feelings and in the next chapter we came from a place where we could help each other.
I could dedicate an entire article to hard conversations in interviews, and mostly because I fail here mosthowever, go completely.
Scenario: I was in a new relationship (six months) and I got to the point where I wasn’t having more fun, and the relationship felt very one-sided in many ways. In this particular scenario, I’d like to talk to you a little earlier about what I felt, to try to work, but I didn’t, it’s something I’m still learning. About six months ago, I realized that the relationship wasn’t for me but it was very difficult for me to break up with him because he was a very kind guy, and yes, you guessed it, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. . With the help of my therapist, I got into the conversation thinking about how I wanted to feel and how I (hopefully) felt about it and I got into it very pleasantly. I didn’t go in trying to save myself, I knew it wasn’t for me, but we walk in a similar industrial circle and I care to make sure it ends in kindness.
I said, “I realize this may come as a surprise because I haven’t used my voice to share this with you yet, and that’s a great learning experience for me. I appreciate the time we’ve had together, but I’m looking for more of a relationship. I’m still helping you and your work and I want to respect what you’re doing, if you agree with that. ”Although he was a little surprised, he wasn’t completely caught off guard.We both shared some praise and we’ve been friends ever since.
Lesson: When they know you don’t do it to save the relationship, I don’t think it’s necessary to point fingers and offer situations that have gone wrong, especially if you haven’t dealt with it in the past. It was really important for me to admit that I didn’t use my voice or that I didn’t bring anything to work on; for me, that’s accepting that transparency, honesty, and vulnerability were wrong.
In all the work and tasks I’ve had, I’ve always come up with a salary or rate increase. In fact, I see less hard dialogue and more advocacy for my work, and I want each person to feel comfortable and confident because most are underpaid and / or unaware of their value. I am grateful to now be in transparent circles around wages; I swear to you that when you start learning what others are doing, you will have no problem asking for more.
In my opinion, the toughest conversations in the workplace are with colleagues or managers who work consistently, especially if you’re in an office environment and a remote environment. I can’t stress enough the importance of not delaying these essential conversations, as the longer you wait, the more likely your work and mental health will be successful.
Scenario: While I was planning a big event on a business trip, I felt like there was something wrong with one of my co-workers. They were usually warm, welcoming and offered a good time to hang out, but I experienced the complete opposite. The trip was a bit quick and we didn’t be alone for a long time, so it didn’t feel right to say anything at the time. Also, I was still trying to decide what I felt. All the emotions were present: confused, hurt, upset, annoyed, and even questioning what I could do to make them feel that way. When I got home, the feeling was still present, so a week later, I asked for a call.
Knowing that our working relationship was very good — and they are the kind that value weakness and bold communication — I simply said, “I know you’re the kind who values weakness and open communication, so I wanted to talk about our last event. I felt like something was wrong, and you weren’t ordinary, were you? At first I decided to get rid of this and find out what was going on with them. They replied that they were not happy with their role, and they shared that it was not an excuse to project that on me, and they felt terribly the way it affected me.
We decided together that we wanted to get monthly time to connect and get out of the way of work, and I’m happy to report that this has helped tremendously. Sometimes it is necessary to remove the “work” of the workplace to really get to know each other; even if both sides need to be willing to take the time to do so.
Learning: Removing ourselves from the narrative, “You did this to me,” allows us to open up more to the other person, to come from a place of defense or shame. No doubt my colleague knew because I was open to the influence of behavior. I imagine the conversation would go in a completely different direction: if I opened up about “you were really rude to me”.
Whatever the scenario, it’s clear that curiosity, being in control of mistakes, and not judging reactions or responses are key to navigating a tough relationship. I appreciate that each scenario has also led to strong and open conversations, and I give credit to the approach. But I’m a curious reader, how do you approach tough conversations? What have you learned? Sound in the comments below!