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Leaders and Hard Conversations

If you are like most people, the thought of having a hard conversation with an employee doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy. In fact, it probably brings stomach knots and heart palpitations.

There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that now is probably the best time to have the conversation. The bad news is that you must have the conversation.

I recently had to have one of these tough conversations. The reality was I needed to have the conversation far sooner, but I was afraid.

I was afraid of saying the wrong thing in the moment.

I was afraid of letting my emotions get in the way of being level-headed.

I was afraid of the person’s response.

I was afraid they would take it personally and make it about them rather than listen to see that I really wanted to work together to fix the problem.

I was afraid of what would have to come after the conversation.

I was afraid of the awkwardness that hangs in the air after a boss reveals they are unhappy with a situation.

However, I knew the longer I waited all of my fears would continue to grow and the only change would be the increase in my frustration level.

So, I had the conversation.

I did a bad job at it.

I did say the wrong things in the moment (even though I had prepared).

I did get emotionally charged.

The person did take it personally.

It was awkward.

Even with all of that, there is an opportunity to start change.

We have a meeting scheduled in the near future to look at the problem together and find solutions.

If positive change is to happen, leaders must find the courage to have those difficult conversations.

Even if it is awkward and doesn’t go according to plan, the fact that a difficult conversation has happened creates a pivot point for positive change.

Go create those pivot points.

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