How Do I Say Hard Things?

I LOVE it when I ask a question and you respond - thank you for doing that. Both myself and my subscribers benefit from your comments. This week, I had a comment from a reader about how hard it can be to hear someone be honest with us, and I am going to use that as this week's topic. Open and honest communication is very difficult; perhaps, that is why I spend so much time working with groups and individuals on that topic. Many of us are uncomfortable being honest - when what we are saying could be perceived as negative. We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or damage relationships. There are many things you can do to improve in that area. I don't want to overwhelm you, so let's try something simple.  Here's a tip for that. When you are concerned about how something you are going to say is received by the other person, start with "My intention when I share this is .....  I am not sure it will come out the way I intend, but please keep in mind what my intent is.  Then, let's talk about what you heard me say and see if it matches what I intended to say. This relationship is important to me."


BIZ - You have an employee who does not always follow the rules or processes that are in place to help keep things running smoothly. One of the things you are trying to do in your department is to improve its appearance.  You have work in your department that requires a ton of paper - files, folders, reports, etc. You have finally figured out some simple storage solutions that will help make things look less messy PLUS keep thing organized.  One employee, who is an excellent employee, has left stacks of reports on the floor of her cube the last two weeks. She has always operated this way, and even though she now has a place to put those files, she hasn't been doing it.  You decide to talk to her about it. She seems okay with things during your chat, but later you hear through the grapevine that you "yelled at her" and that "you don't like her".  That is not at all the case. You do like her and value her as an employee and you certainly don't think you yelled at her - that was not your intent. You decide that you need to talk with her about this, as you don't want this "sliver" to grow into a finger that needs to be severed.  You set up a meeting for tomorrow morning to straighten things out.  Using the tip above about stating intentions up front, what would this follow-up conversation look like?

I could give you a list of books that help with this type of thing, and I may do that at some point. For today, I want to share a website I found that has some pretty short, simple tips for saying hard things.


There must be someone in your life that you have to say something HARD to.  Do it this week. Use the "this is my intent" tip and let us know how it goes.  Please share your TIPS for saying hard things in the comments section. Your fellow subscribers and I will appreciate it!


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