One of the best things I learned in my fellowship with the Center for Progressive Leadership was the value of having difficult conversations.
That lesson was reaffirmed in a recent post by Peter Bregman titled How to Talk About What You Most Dread. He writes:
Here’s a general rule: the more you fear a conversation, the more you probably need to have it. Think of fear as an indicator of a problem that needs to be addressed. [emphasis added]
Bregman then goes on to give some top-notch suggestions for how to have those conversations.
Having the courage to have difficult conversations will transform your leadership. I’ve seen it.
Since the CPL training, there have been countless times in which I’ve remembered that lesson, summoned up my courage, and spoken to somebody to deal with inappropriate behavior, clear up misunderstandings, or to apologize for my own mistakes.
In every case, they apparently ‘easy’ thing to do would be to just ignore the issue. What I’ve found is that the value of speaking up and listening is much greater than the discomfort of avoiding a conflict.
Read Bregman’s article. Think about the conversation you most dread. Try dealing with it directly. It will work wonders.