Which conversations do you dread? Are they with an employee or colleague who doesn’t seem to do what they should? Are they the ones with your teenager about what they do or don’t do? Are they with your spouse over who’s going to get their way? Your ability to have success in your interpersonal relations will be as a result of having uncomfortable conversations.
No one wants to have to talk about that stuff. And yet that’s how you are able to make the relationship progress to becoming better than it is now. But it requires that you persevere through those uncomfortable conversations.
Here are three levels to which your workplace and personal relationships will improve as a result of having uncomfortable conversations.
By talking through things you’d rather not have to talk about, you will gain insight that you would not have had before. If you are willing to talk to those people—and listen to them—you will learn things that you didn’t know before.
But here’s the deal: you can’t go to them and dictate how things will be. It involves asking open-ended questions to try to get at what’s going on. As Stephen R. Covey famously said, you must seek first to understand, not to be understood.
If you are willing to talk through those issues, then you may end up seeing a real change in behavior. But that will be because you were willing to open the lines of communication.
It is important that you go into the conversation not to fix others, but to understand others. By allowing them to voice where they’re at, they may look at the situation differently. And that can give them the impetus to change.
By giving a non-judgmental ear, you will provide an opportunity for them to see the situation differently. But more importantly, you will help yourself see them differently.
Your outlook toward them will change as a result of you being willing to listen. You will be better able to understand their point of view. And that will ultimately transform your relationship with them. Just because you were willing to take the time to have those uncomfortable conversations.
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