It breaks my heart when I hear of relationships going south just because people have not had a critical conversation.
In our roles as consultants we often get to hear both sides of the story.
I once worked with a Manager who was always complaining about a staff member’s work. Every session, I would coach him on having a certain discussion with the employee about her work. Each time we met he had not had the discussion. Against ongoing advice he chose not to have the conversation with her. Not only this but he then decided that he would raise it to the level of a disciplinary matter (even without the conversation).
Next time I was working with this client, the girl came to me with a discrimination claim as she felt the disciplinary action was because he did not like women. She had never been told that her behaviour was below par and not up to standard.
Now, we have a situation where both parties feel misunderstood and not undertaking a constructive way forward.
This outcome is completely unnecessary and totally avoidable as a conversation would have resolved everything.
There are so many reasons to have a Brave Conversation, if you feel like you need to have the conversation, have it. If you want to fix something, fix it. If you want to improve your relationship, do so. It is the ethical, right thing to do to have the honest conversation with the person you have in your world.
The simple lack of a conversation can have massive effects on an organisation. It can cause low engagement, high conflict, low staff morale and potential workers compensation and bullying claims. It can be disastrous!
So why do we avoid? A lack of clear strategy to have conversations, fear of what could happen, you might want people to like you, we think a conversation is going to create more conflict. A person can have an overly developed need to be liked and approved of and the conversation can be a threat to them as those other needs are not being met.
They have a ‘she’ll be right attitude’, ‘I don’t have time to deal with the possible repercussions of the conversation’, they minimise the need to have the conversation, they convince themselves that it doesn’t actually need to be dealt with in the first place.
So think about it.
What in your life are you avoiding?
What conversation do you want to have?
What conversation do you need to have?
That’s it, go and do it!