We must agree to present our perspective without pulling any punches. We can’t hold back, fearful of what the other person will think or what they’ll say. We need to be honest, and we need to be assertive. BUT, we also must be open minded at the same time. We need to realize that our own perspective is, by itself, woefully short of the complete picture. We need to recognize that most often, the best path forward, the “truth,” lies between the two views.
Easy, right? Obviously, no! This is exceptionally challenging. We all have a need to be heard. To feel valued. To think we have the answers. Whether it’s an ego/humility/pride issue or an issue of wanting to avoid discomfort and potential pain, the path forward is really really difficult to walk.
Even if we’re on board for moving forward to a better operating system amongst our valued partners (spouses, co workers/bosses, extended family, etc) it’s another thing entirely to do it well. I’d like to outline a few things I’m trying to think about so I can do this better.
- Be prepared. Prior to the conversation, tell yourself “I’m going to question how I know I’m right?, not ‘I know I’m right’”
- Pay attention to your gut. If you have that feeling of anger or tension in your belly, pay attention and reset your mindset.
- Pay attention to your voice/tone. Are you talking fast, loud, or otherwise being a jerk? Stop!
- Breathe. Take some big belly breaths, and be thankful you have people in your life that you care about and care about you enough to have challenging conversations with.
- Pivot when necessary. Sometimes you need to totally shift the conversation, by either changing your approach or shifting your perspective. All with the aim of getting what you want - a better path forward!
- Shelf when necessary. There are times when the best thing to do is to put things on the shelf. There are times when proceeding forward right now will not be constructive. Don’t push it. But, agree to come back to it when you can both be more calm feel good about how to push through to results.
We hope you find these principles helpful in some way. It's been helpful for us to navigate how we want to operate as individuals within a company, and identify what we stand for. We'd love to hear your thoughts! Let us know if this is great, it's terrible, or how it can be better.