When it comes to building a team, family, or just living life, hard conversations are always there. No matter what industry you are in or type of family you have, someone will always get hurt.
This is just a part of life.
We are not perfect people, and imperfect people do imperfect things. We all say things, or have been said things that hurt and leave us feeling frustrated, hurt, or stuck.
I heard a quote from the GLS (Global Leadership Summit) a few years back that has stuck with me for a long time.
“The HEALTH of your organization is based on the amount of
HARD conversations you have”
Powerful statement but why?
I’ve always envisioned this conversation like a tree.
When hurt enters the team, it creates a bad root at the base of the tree. Day by day the bad root turns into bad fruit. Hurt turns into bitterness, and can possibly turn into gossip and begins to affect the culture.
Check out this verse from Jesus.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
Jesus is so clear here when someone offends us, and what we should do.
But I can’t tell you how many times we all have run away from this.
A lot of us just “work harder” or avoid it. We make excuses to run away from the thing that will probably bring the most freedom to your life and your team’s life.
So let’s talk about how to have better hard conversations.
#1 Remember the Vision - Remember the Why
When it comes to hard conversations, you have to start with the why.
A lot of us make this stuff about ourselves. We are typically scared to talk to or forgive the person because we don't want ourselves to feel uncomfortable. Well I am here to tell you, when we are on mission for God, this is NOT ABOUT YOU.
I know that sounds a little harsh, but it’s true.
Before we approach a person, we have to remember the WHY, before the WHO. Without finding peace with this person you will be held back to your potential, and their potential.
Remember the vision you see, and the people you serve. They need a team that is at it's 100%. And if you are holding resentment toward them, you are not at your 100%.
#2: Love the Person Past the Problem
If you are married, you know how this is done.
When you are married to someone, there is a commitment past the arguments that you have.
You constantly LOVE the person though you have ISSUES between each other.
This is what we have to do when it comes to our teams.
Our teammates are past just job descriptions, or payrolls.
They are friends, or at least I hope they are.
But many times we treat employees like numbers because we don’t want to deal with the emotional intelligence side of our work, which is harder than we think many times.
See it’s easy to have to-do lists. It's difficult to look someone in the eyes and share your feelings.
Our history of organizations has taught us not to do this. But if you understand people, you know that this is the key issue we struggle with in teams! We don’t treat people like people!
#3: Do it Quickly
When I was a kid, my dad used to tell me, “Joe, whenever you have a hard conversation do it immediately.”
When it comes to a team, family, friendships, it doesn't matter, our natural tendency will be to find any way possible out of not doing it.
Do it quickly and swallow the frog.
I would recommend you setting up the appointment or meeting and sharing some things you would like to share.
I would go from there and start with these segment of statements
“I want to give you the benefit of the doubt”
“This is how THIS came off too me”
“This was the reaction I had”
“Can you explain it further for me for clarity?”
Notice the language and how I shared it.
It’s not accusing them, but it is expressing the way it made me feel.
One of the worst ways that people handle these things is they begin by accusing the person of something.
Can I tell you that 90% of the time, the person had no idea.
A lot of times, people are just living their life and are not aware of their actions. Sometimes it’s the way things were said, or the tone in which they were said.
Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Once you have the meeting, create an action plan so these things don't happen again.