How do I communicate something tricky?

It’s a tricky thing this communicating thing.  As humans, we are wired to avoid conflict. And given that most of us are decent human beings, add to that a sense of not wanting to upset the other person. So, when faced with a difficult message, our inclination is often to : avoid it, project it onto someone or something else, hope it will get better, bundle it up with a heap of other things, or any other form of indirect communication.

The thing is though, none of these approaches usually work. For example:

  • Ignore something, and it often ends up being a bigger deal, that is more difficult to deal with.
  • Project it onto someone or something else and you end up confusing the issue.
  • Email the message rather than communicate it directly, you take away the other person’s opportunity to respond immediately and directly (i.e. — communicate) and so often end up adding additional emotion to an issue unnecessarily.

So today’s takeaways:

  • Be honest, clear and concise on the issue.
  • Communicate in a way that is appropriate to the message being communicated, not because it is easiest or the least confrontational.
  • Think about how you would want to be communicated to given the circumstances.
  • Think about whether you are communicating to actually have a conversation or so that you can simply tick the box — “done”, and what that action does for ongoing trust and the relationship.

Remember, nowhere in here is the suggestion that you need to be confrontational or that you need to rant or rave, or that it needs to a bigger than Ben Hur type approach. But communicating directly with courage and clarity and compassion goes a lot further than communicating via an email message ever did.

Until next week, happy leading,

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