“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:
How many times have you either:
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:
- 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?
- 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.