Lesson on Building Character

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 | 0 comments

Braver than you Believe

Recently my son got into a little bit of trouble at school. Nothing serious, but it created a life lesson opportunity. It spawned a great conversation regarding difficult conversations and how people avoid them because it makes us feel icky and how if we are brave it can build character. I used the example of how some people chose not to show up for interviews because they don’t want to give “bad news” that they changed their mind. Even after I phone to confirm the day before, they chose not to tell me that they are not coming. They would rather avoid telling me they aren’t coming than save their reputation of being a no show. If they only knew it is better to fess up and come clean for everyone.
My son new the right thing to do but it didn’t make having the conversation at school any easier. Admitting when we make mistakes is tough, especially in front of your peers. This lesson will stick with him and help him have difficult conversations in the workplace and his personal life if he needs to.
I have seen managers avoid difficult conversations because it can be hard. Thinking that it may create conflict or hurt someone’s feelings tends to be why we avoid it. However, by not addressing a difficult or sensitive issue, it will only fester. Everyone will become bitter and suddenly it is a bigger issue. Relationships suffer, engagement goes down, the level of service and output decreases affecting your customers. Keep in mind, how you have the difficult conversation is likely more important than what you are saying. Being able to provide corrective feedback in such a way as to save dignity and maintain your relationship with your team will keep your work culture positive.

Years ago a manager gave me a talking to yet I didn’t realize it at the time. He was just in my office having a conversation telling me what I should have done instead. It wasn’t until after he left that I realized, “I just got heck”. He was calm. He explained what I did and the impact it had on the organization and why I should have done it the other way. I didn’t feel degraded or demotivated and yet I learned how to do my job better. That has stuck with me all of these years.

So even though we may want to avoid having a conversation because it makes us feel uncomfortable, it is better to push through it. Be brave. Have courage. You will feel better and can move on rather than stay stuck. You, your relationships and environment will be better for it.

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