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Message From Kim: You Know Its Time to Have A Difficult Discussion When...

Published Thursday, May 30, 2019
by Kim Gusman, President & CEO

two professional women having a conversationDo any of you remember those comedy bits that Jeff Foxworthy used to do?  To help you self-diagnose whether or not “you might be a redneck,” Foxworthy would describe certain situations that you might find yourself in and might mean you’re a redneck.  For example, he might say something like, “If you give your wife a pair of fishing lures for Christmas and tell her that they’re earrings…you might be a redneck.”  Funny stuff.

What isn’t as funny, or as easy, is trying to diagnose when it’s time to have a tough or “difficult” conversation with an employee, friend or family member.  When people display negative behaviors that affect business outcome, it should be a no-brainer for supervisors to know it’s time to have a hard and productive conversation with the person in question.   

Easier said than done.  Most people naturally avoid conflict at home and at work.  People go to great lengths to avoid having a difficult discussion with a friend, family member or co-worker, especially when it’s someone they truly value and respect.  While we know that silence and avoidance won’t get results, we also fear the unknown.  Even if we know that the drama and disruption we have been witnessing needs to be addressed, we have no idea how our message will be received. 

Here are a few situations that may mean it’s time to have one of those difficult discussions: 

  • If you find yourself thinking negatively about someone, it might mean you are far overdue for a conversation.
  • When you find yourself blaming someone without talking to them first, it might mean you aren’t taking full responsibility for the situation. It’s time for a talk.
  • When you judge someone, it might mean you don’t fully understand the person or the reason they have made a decision. It’s time for a talk to gain more information. 
  • When you resent someone it might mean you failed to set a boundary and are looking to place blame elsewhere for your disappointment. It’s time for a talk to discuss what went wrong and what lessons have been learned for the future.

Difficult discussions take a combination of preparation and courage to be productive and have a successful outcome.  We help employers prepare for these crucial conversations every day, give us a call whenever you think it’s time to self-diagnose!   



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