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Uncomfortable conversations are the price of admission to meaningful relationships

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Hard conversations are called ‘hard conversations’ for a reason.

They’re hard.

But they’re critical to relationship building.

And they’re the price of admission to meaningful relationships.

When we shy away from tough conversations, we limit the depth of connection we create (whether it’s with a colleague, a friend or a partner).

We rob ourselves of opportunities that lie on the other side of working through problems together.

And, in the case of our team members, it’s often the difference between them being great or merely just good.

As managers, we’re often tempted to withhold improvement advice or accountability.

We tell ourselves it’s because we don’t want to upset the other person.

But – truthfully – it’s usually because we don’t want to experience the discomfort ourselves.

So, when we avoid these conversations, we’re denying ourselves the chance to develop a deeper relationship. And we’re selfishly robbing the other person of a growth opportunity.

So, next time we realise we’re avoiding a hard conversation, we must take action.

We don’t have to start with the conversation itself. We just have to get moving in the right direction.

Action might start with:

  • Working with a coach or therapist to plan and prepare for the conversation
  • Booking in and fixing a time with the other person to have the conversation
  • Learning how to have successful hard conversations (e.g. the book Crucial Conversations is an excellent starting point)
  • Meditating or preparing ourselves in some other way beforehand, so we enter the conversation with the right mindset

Note: This idea was inspired by a recent Rich Roll podcast episode where Susan David talked about how “discomfort is the price of a meaningful life”.

Where to next?