Sadly, not all conversations are pleasant.
In all honesty, some conversations are just plain inconvenient.
The conversation you need to have with a colleague about her performance on a project your team was working on. The conversation you need to have with your boss around an issue you are struggling with. Or simply put, the difficult conversation you need to have with … (fill-in-the-blank) about the … (fill-in-the-issue).
Difficult and inconvenient conversations are part of life. We can either tackle then head on or we can let them fester. My vote … tackle them head on!
Here are a few rules of engagement to consider:
1. Don’t get sidetrack: Once you’ve decided to tackle that difficult conversation, don’t get sidetracked or off topic. For example, when I need to address a specific issue with my son, I have a tendency to navigate away from the one issue that led to this particular “inconvenient conversation” and pile on all this other stuff that, in most cases, is not even related to the topic at hand. Stay focused!
2. Don’t wait: The worst thing you can do is avoid the conversation in hopes that it will just go away. It won’t. The longer you wait the more difficult it will be to resolve the issue and, in all honesty, you will have forgotten most of the reasons why you needed to have this conversation.
3. Make it meaningful: Difficult conversations present the perfect opportunity for you to build a foundation for a meaningful relationship. In the heat of the moment this may not be evident, but the way you chose to comport yourself can go a long way to strengthen your relationship with the other person.
4. Take ownership: Remember the old saying … “it takes two to tango!” Conversations involve to people and we both bring baggage to the conversation. I am still working on this, but I know that I need to take ownership of my part of the issue. When it comes to my son and I, most of our “inconvenient conversations” have to do with not doing what he was suppose to do. I am I am honest with myself, he did not do what I wanted him to do because of one simple reason – I did not clearly lay out the expectation I had in that moment or I simply assumed he understood what what expected. If I take ownership of this fact – the “inconvenient conversation” quickly becomes a non-event!
What inconvenient conversation have you had lately? What else would you had to the list?