Most of the time we just don’t have them.
The bottom line, though, is that we do ourselves absolutely no favours by not facing up to the issues we have in the relationships around us and in most cases either end up losing a friend/family member/spouse regardless of whether we had the guts to explain ourselves in the first place.
For whatever reason we are pretty awful at just being truthful because we think that by doing so, we are sparing the other persons feelings. What about ours?
I’ve got a difficult conversation to have today. It’s a slightly different one because I have to have it with a work colleague at work. The twist in the tale is that we’ve been close friends for 10 years and I only became his boss recently. I’m dreading it.
The main crux of the issue is that we both have begun working in a new department, with new challenges and a smaller team. The focus is very much on our project delivery and unfortunately our work methodologies up to this point could have been a bit slapdash, but it’s not cutting the mustard any longer. I’ve been through my difficult adjustment last year. I was lucky enough to have a demanding but attentive boss who know what he wanted. As a result, despite the fact I disliked it at the time, I have now bought all my work up to scratch. My colleague on the other hand has had a terrible boss before me who shied away from flagging issues and barely met with him. So now people know I’m in charge, the complaints have flooded in. Lucky me.
How am I going to handle it? Hmmm, I’m not sure right now. I know I need to be honest. I know I have to give him some clear goals to achieve and I know I need to start seeing some fast results. I know I’m going to need to pull on the memory of the course I did called “Having Difficult Conversations”.
So I’m going to start with:
What I like about what you do
What I don’t like about what you do
What I want you to do
If you do this we can…
If you don’t do this then……….
That way I get my point across, without any need of complicating it with emotion. I can be clear about the point I’m trying to make and clearly demonstrate the consequences of it.
I can do this, because it’s work, but you can adapt it for personal relationships too. How often do we get caught up in the emotion of an argument and the argument ends up being about the way we are arguing rather than about the point of the argument in the first place. The easiest time to do this (easier said than done) is after you’ve calmed down and without the distractions around you (kids, TV). I can tell you it really does work as I’ve done it a few times. Not as often as I’d like because I get very emotional, especially if I feel I’ve been hard done by. Taking a moment to imagine yourself as the other person though helps you to realise that they feel exactly the same. They feel you are being unreasonable. So it makes sense to take some time to think about the core reason for the argument and where necessary, break it down and have a calm reasoned discussion about it.
Check me out being all relationships guru. *shouts at husband for interrupting her whilst on laptop*
Anyway, that is what I’m doing today. Wish me luck.