Can we talk? We’ve all heard those words and many times, that means we’re heading into a crucial conversation.
As humans, most of us naturally seek balance. If there’s friction at work, often our gut response is to smooth it over anyway we can. Avoiding the situation is never the best solution.
One of the things I always tell our team is that you get what you allow. When you don’t address tough issues, they can go and go and go, until things escalate into a big blow up. What distinguishes a successful leader from one that isn’t, is how they deal with uneasy situations and difficult conversations.
Before having a crucial conversation, it’s important to think through what you’re going to say. The words you choose are crucial. Words have the power to tear people down or build them up. Having difficult conversations is not about creating a culture of conflict; it is just the opposite.
As a leader, you need to approach difficult conversations with a positive, constructive point of view where learning, not winning, is the goal. The end goal should be positive change, whether that’s in an individual, with both parties or throughout the entire organization.
If you want to facilitate a company culture that’s open and innovative, difficult conversations should not be shied away from. Your company’s next great idea could be born out of a difficult conversation.
For tips on how to have crucial conversations, check out the blog by Erica Greene Smith, our HR manager. For more insight, consider reading Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. It’s a book definitely worth reading and keeping close at hand.