Warning: session_start(): open(/tmp/sess_793eaccd3a08411f5a2ffe095f25caad, O_RDWR) failed: Disk quota exceeded (122) in /home/customer/www/pathforwardleadership.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-simple-paypal-shopping-cart/wp_shopping_cart_utility_functions.php on line 99

Warning: session_start(): Failed to read session data: files (path: /tmp) in /home/customer/www/pathforwardleadership.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-simple-paypal-shopping-cart/wp_shopping_cart_utility_functions.php on line 99
Making Tough Conversations Easier

Making Tough Conversations Easier

“Relationships succeed or fail one conversation at a time.”  How does that fit your experience, at work and at home?  (The quote is from Susan Scott, in Fierce Conversations, one of the best books on leadership, period.)

Conversations are challenging when:

  • The topic is important
  • You see the situation differently from the person you’re talking to
  • You find it difficult to speak your truth

How many times have you either:

  • avoided a challenging conversation, with regrettable results, or
  • had that conversation, only to say, “I wish I hadn’t said …” or “I wish I had said …”?

If you know you’re going to have one of these challenging conversations, plan for it.  It can make all the difference.  Here’s one way:

YOUR PATH FORWARD:

Before every scheduled challenging interaction, take 5-10 minutes to ask yourself questions such as the following, briefly journaling your responses:

INTENTIONS

  • What might make this conversation difficult?  Why might I find it hard to speak my truth?
  • What am I hoping to accomplish in this interaction?  What would success look like?

SETTING THE TONE

  • How do I want to present myself in this situation?
  • How can I make the other person(s) feel safe?  How will I invite and hear their points of view?

LANGUAGING

  • How shall I start the conversation?
  • What specific wording do I want to use in the pieces of the message that are most critical for me to convey accurately?

After each challenging interaction, take 5-10 minutes to ask yourself these questions.  Again, briefly journal your responses:

  • To what extent did I accomplish what I’d set out to accomplish?
  • To what extent did I contribute to a positive tone?
  • In what parts of the interaction did I experience my authority?  In what parts was my authority leaking?
  • What do I intend as a result of what I learned?

Next Thursday, I’ll offer a simple template for a conversation in which you need to express your truth and want also to open to others’ truths.

“Relationships succeed or fail one conversation at a time.” How does that fit your experience, at work and at home? (The quote is from Susan Scott, in Fierce Conversations, one of the best books on leadership, period.)

Conversations are challenging when:

· The topic is important

· You see the situation differently from the person you’re talking to

· You find it difficult to speak your truth

How many times have you either:

· avoided a challenging conversation, with regrettable results, or

· had that conversation, only to say, “I wish I hadn’t said …” or “I wish I had said …”?

If you know you’re going to have one of these challenging conversations, plan for it. It can make all the difference. Here’s one way:

YOUR PATH FORWARD:

Before every scheduled challenging interaction, take 5-10 minutes to ask yourself questions such as the following, briefly journaling your responses:

INTENTIONS

What might make this conversation difficult? Why might I find it hard to speak my truth?

What am I hoping to accomplish in this interaction? What would success look like?

SETTING THE TONE

How do I want to present myself in this situation?

How can I make the other person(s) feel safe? How will I invite and hear their points of view?

LANGUAGING

How shall I start the conversation?

What specific wording do I want to use in the pieces of the message that are most critical for me to convey accurately?

After each challenging interaction, take 5-10 minutes to ask yourself these questions. Again, briefly journal your responses:

To what extent did I accomplish what I’d set out to accomplish?

To what extent did I contribute to a positive tone?

In what parts of the interaction did I experience my authority? In what parts was my authority leaking?

What do I intend as a result of what I learned?

About the Author

Steve Motenko
Steve Motenko is an executive coach, leadership trainer, and co-host of The Boss Show, a weekly podcast on workplace dynamics. Steve and his Boss Show co-host, Jim Hessler, are co-authors of Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guide to Building Your Leadership Platform. Steve lives on Whidbey Island, Washington, with his wife and dog, whom he loves, and a cat he tolerates usually pretty well.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *