Challenging conversations often occur in a workplace environment. Even when a team has excellent, open communication, the need arises to confront challenging issues. In early childhood, challenging conversations come in many forms, with many audiences. In one week, we may be required to have challenging conversations with supervisors, coworkers, consultants, licensing specialists, families, and even children.
The frequency of these conversations does not make them any easier, especially when we don’t address the reasons we find conversations challenging in the first place.
A recent study by Globis Mediation Group sought to answer the question – Why do we avoid difficult conversations? In the 2015 report summary, they share the top 10 reasons:
- Concern about the other person’s self-esteem or confidence
- Concern about causing upset
- Concern about causing the other person additional stress
- Recognition that expectations were not made clear
- Desire to maintain a positive reputation as a “people-person”
- Issues were left unaddressed for too long
- Concern about an angry response
- Concern about long-term damage to the relationship
- Concern about the effort required to see the issue through
- Hadn’t gathered sufficient evidence to tackle the issue
Do any of these reasons sound familiar to you?
As with most things, awareness is the first step in identifying an opportunity for growth. If you find yourself avoiding challenging conversations, attempt to identify the reason(s) why, and then work to address that reason. For example:
• If you feel that you don’t have enough information to address the situation, do some additional research.
• If you are worried about causing upset or stress, think of a way to address the issue in a nonthreatening way that promotes collaboration rather than confrontation and defensiveness.
• If you recognize that you want to remain the “nice-person”, weigh the pros and cons of keeping your reputation vs. addressing the issue.
• If you realize that the expectations were not presented clearly, take accountability and move forward with clear expectations in place.
A challenging conversation shouldn’t end a relationship – in fact, the end result should be a stronger relationship and a clearer understanding of the needs of both parties. This month’s free trial course is designed to help you approach challenging conversations in new ways, so you can accomplish this goal.