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Silence comes with a price!

Silence comes with a price!

This may come as a surprise to you but one of the focal points of my coaching practice is to work with individuals, helping them speak.  I mean TRULY speak.  Say what they really mean, ask the tough questions and work cooperatively with the other party to come up with acceptable answers.

Of all the challenges we face in the work place, it has always fascinated me that the seemingly easiest thing to do turns out to be one of the most challenging.  Speaking.  A recent study conducted by CEDR (Center for effective Dispute Resolution) showed that 63% of the surveyed managers and employees said that they felt ill prepared to face difficult conversations.

Because we think that holding a conversation is as basic an activity as going for a walk, we don’t necessarily give it all the attention it needs and when it feels too hard we avoid it, the way we avoid going to the gym. Too much work.  Don’t feel like it. However some preparation can go a long way.  A few basic elements to consider are also:

  • Know what your needs are in that situation and know how to express them.
  • Know what is equally important for the other party (if you don’t know: ask.  If you don’t care, you are not ready to have that conversation)
  • Know what the outcome needs to be.

However, as good as guidelines are to help you face such conversations, even better than a guideline is a conviction.  Ask yourself why you need to have that conversation? Moreover, ask yourself what will be the cost of not having it? Once you know why and what will be the cost if you don’t, it becomes a lot easier to have.

When a situation needs to be dealt with and it is not, it does not go away as you know.  On the contrary, you begin to go around in circles dealing with the same issue over and over again. “Nothing gets resolved around here” is what you hear yourself say.  You just want to get on with your work.

Avoiding a tough conversation is an immediate relief and an illusion of time gained, but given a little bit of time, unspoken words speak louder than any confrontation you may have had.  You know that. Do the right thing, the first time.

How you lead yourself, and others, matters.