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Rod Webb

Glasstap Limited

Director and Co-Founder

Read more from Rod Webb

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Those Conversations We’d Much Rather Not Have


I once hired a colleague's husband to wallpaper and paint our hallway and staircase. The trouble is, he turned out to be an awful decorator. Really, really awful.

Which was awkward.

I knew I needed to have a conversation with him, which would result in either an improvement, or, more likely, him leaving and never darkening my hallway again with his overlaps, patches and splotches. But I really didn't want a confrontation and, of course, the situation was made so much more awkward by the fact I worked with his wife. 

So, I kept hoping that it wasn’t really that bad, or that things would miraculously get better. Perhaps all those overlaps were part of some technique I didn't understand?

They weren't, and things didn't get better. 

I was so desperate to avoid an awkward situation, that I even considered letting him finish the job and then paying someone else to do it properly, though I knew there was no money for this.

Eventually, my partner stepped into the breach, had the necessary conversation and saved me having to overcome my fears. But, my procrastination still meant we ended up doing the work ourselves, and undoing work we'd paid for. 

We all dread them don’t we; those conversations we know we need to have, but would really rather not have. 

We worry that having that discussion is going to irreparably damage our relationship with that person (or that person’s friends), that they’re going to become emotional, or that we’re simply going to end up in a huge fight.

Those things don’t usually happen of course, if we plan for and have the conversations we need to, in a calm, adult manner. 

Indeed, problems are more likely to arise if we avoid having a difficult conversation; often right up to the point where we 'snap', and say something in the heat of the moment that we know we’ll regret later.

The key to success is in knowing when you need to have a difficult conversation and then having that conversation in the right way, at the right time.

As trainers, we need to help managers learn the skills to plan and hold dificult conversations in a way that is constructive and which deals with the underlying issue. We need to make sure too that they're equipped with the emotional intelligence to be both self-aware and aware of others.

Time for a plug: Trainers' Library and Managers' Library do, of course, have resources designed to develop the skills needed to have constructive conversations in difficult situations, including this Course Module in Trainers' Library.  

Thanks for Reading:
I love feedback, of all kinds, so please do leave a comment below. Finally, for loads of helpful tips and ideas from the team, follow us on Twitter @glasstaplimited. 

Author Profile Picture
Rod Webb

Director and Co-Founder

Read more from Rod Webb

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