The Hard Conversation
This is what I used to think every hard conversation in life would look like. Heads down, someone yelling, very dramatic.
The truth about hard conversations is that they can happen between friends over lunch or while praising an employee. They don’t have to be ugly and yelling is actually a horrible tactic.
Before sharing a hard conversation with someone think of this picture and make sure your spirit and intent is based in bettering the receiver, not belittling them.
The simplest hard conversation we all face is when someone has food in their teeth. While this is embarrassing the person is much better for knowing it’s there. They will probably thank you.
This is how you should walk into all hard conversations, with the same basic feeling of knowing it’s going to be a little hard to hear but the recipient will be so much better for it.
I typically end hard conversations like this:
“I’m telling you this because if I were in your shoes I would want to know and being your friend/colleague/boss I have to honor you with the same information I would hope to receive.”
But why does conflict sometimes feel hostile? Because the hostile person hasn’t had the courage to confront the hard conversation and instead has let the issue fester and grow until it has reached a hostile boiling point.
If you have let a situation reach a boiling point it’s time to step back and ask yourself why you haven’t confronted the issue earlier. Were you afraid of hurting feelings? Share that with the person you need to have the hard conversation with because this will help them understand how much they mean to you.
If someone comes to you with a hard conversation with a hostile tone don’t interrupt and make sure when they have completed their thoughts that you thank them for bringing this issue to you. Showing gratitude can defuse the situation.