October 24, 2014 By S. Anthony Iannarino
No one wants to have difficult conversations. It is hard to deal with situations when emotions are high and people are upset. But these conversations are crucial to your success, and difficult conversations offer you an opportunity to grow personally and professionally.
From time to time, no matter how good your company is, you are going to have problems executing and delivering for your clients. You aren’t going to have a lot of people fight you to lead the conversations with your clients about your failing and your plan to turn things around. But dealing with these issues is what builds your client’s trust and confidence in you. Hiding from issues destroys trust and confidence.
You and your dream client are struggling to produce the outcomes you sold. They’re disappointed and angry? Jot down your talking points and action plans, and get face-to-face (the sooner the better). Client has a serious complaint and wants to rip someone’s face off? Make your face the first they see, and let it be known that you were side-by-side with them when they needed you.
As a manager or leader, you are going to have to have difficult conversations with the people you lead. Sometimes those conversations will be about their performance, and they will sometimes be unpleasant. As a leader, you have to engage in these uncomfortable conversations. It’s a part of your role that you can’t abdicate.
One of the people you are responsible isn’t performing? Have the difficult and very real conversation about their performance issue, even though the conversation isn’t going to be very much fun. Another person has personal issues that are impacting their life? You really don’t want to deal with it because it’s messy. Have the conversation even if it fills you with dread.
It’s important that you learn to have effective, difficult conversations. The better results you need are on the other side of those conversations. The more you learn to deal with situations and conversations when emotions are running hot and stakes are high, the more prepared you will be to deal with other difficult conversations.
Difficult conversations are growth opportunities.
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