I was having a conversation with a client today and as she connected with what she really wished she could say to someone important in her life , she realized she needed to have a difficult conversation.
Knowing that I teach and talk about Difficult Conversations she asked, “So how do I get him to listen?”
This question is the big question that most people have.
We are so keenly aware of when the other person doesn’t listen to us.
That’s exactly why it is a very powerful tool when you begin a difficult conversation by listening to the other person.
What is going on for them?
Where do they feel unheard?
What are they really trying to say?
You make the goal of your conversation to connect.
Sometimes it does mean that you delay bringing up what you need to say.
Sometimes that is only a few minutes, sometimes an hour, sometimes a few days.
You share your presence by showing up for the other person.
You earn their trust.
Having felt heard the other person will now be likely to listen to you.
Think about it.
Isn’t that what you need?
To feel heard?
Give the energy that you want to receive. Come from a place of generosity before need and you will find a much more willing listener in the other person.
Are you ready to reclaim your power?
Uncontrollable change is inevitable. Whether we can see it or not, change is always happening around us and within us.
What is ALWAYS within our control is how we respond to the circumstances beyond our control.
Think of a sailboat at sea. The sailor has no control over the winds, the tide, the weather or other boats. But, the sailor has full control over the sails and the rudder. The sailor steers the boat according to her instincts and her judgment.
Are you controlling the rudder and the sails in your own life, or are you letting the storms carry you in all directions?
Do other people’s emotions overpower you, or do you navigate them like they are weather?
Do you behave reactively to what happens in your life, or do you show up in a way that reflects who you want to be in the world?
Is your sense of self-worth subject to the approval of others, or do you steer according to your own values?
If the sailor doesn’t steer and navigate the winds well, the boat could capsize. The occupants could be lost at sea.
If you keep struggling against the change around you, you sacrifice your health, your well being and your sense of self-worth.
Will you reclaim your power, root yourself in your purpose and like the trunk of a tree grow tall and strong?
I coached a client who was new in her position.
She felt that everyone around her was nervous, not trusting her and not believing that she knew what she was doing.
She told me about the moments when her supervisors and colleagues asked questions or made comments that led her to question herself.
She gave away her power when she let other people’s comments and concerns influence how she felt about the job that she was doing.
She let what they thought, how they behaved, what they said determine her response and her actions.
In our conversation, she recognized how she gave away her power and shifted her focus onto reclaiming it.
She connected with her purpose and her confidence. She took charge of how she showed up at work: what emotions she brought with her and how she communicated with others.
And you know what happened?
When she changed how she showed up, everyone’s reactions to her changed as well!
When she showed up confident and clear in her communications, she won over the opinions of others and started to get the affirmations that she needed.
How about you?
Are you ready to reclaim your power and change how you show up for yourself and for others?
Does it sometimes feel like your employees are lying down on the job?
There are so many things that they could be doing to help your business!
And, nothing you say or do seems to make a difference?
It’s so frustrating, isn’t it?!!
During Covid-19 times, the stakes are higher. You are working harder and doing more to keep your business moving.
If only your employees would just get with the program!!
It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting.
Here is a game changing tip:
RESPOND DON’T REACT!!
What’s the difference between responding and reacting?
REACTING is communicating without any awareness and from whatever emotion or energy hits you when you see the gap between how the employee is functioning and what you’d like him to be doing.
RESPONDING, is taking in what’s happening, how it is affecting you, making an intentional choice around what do or say next.
Here is an example of a leader reacting:
An employee has added up the sale wrong. The manager scolds him:
“You messed it up. Now we have to take a loss! What were you thinking! How many times do I have to tell you the same thing?”
That is a REACTION
It comes from YOUR emotion, from the stress that YOU feel in that moment.
It comes from the place of blame and shame and makes the employee feel bad.
Not that you will see the employee feel bad.
The employee will more likely hide that vulnerability and get defensive, or stop caring, have a declining performance or stay rebellious and angry.
You have compromised your relationship and your connection with the employee which diminishes your ability to influence the employee which will affect your bottom line.
In contrast, here is an example of a RESPONSE:
The manager feels frustrated, takes a deep breath, notices how she feels then turns his attention to the experience of her employee.
“There is a mistake here. Can you look with me to see where it happened?”
Perhaps the employee will see the mistake and be able to correct it himself.
The manager might then say, “Oh, here it is. I see what happened. Okay, let me show you what to do, so this doesn’t have to happen again.”
In this second example you have probably made the employee feel uncomfortable, but you have given her a chance to find her mistake and offer support for future success.
Responding allows you to set the standard while offering the support the employee needs to reach it.
By responding instead of reacting, you gain your employees trust which will positively affect your bottom line.
Some of you will ask – but what about the consequence? Shouldn’t the employee experience criticism, negativity and punishment in order to know never to do it again?
I get where you are coming from. It is natural for us to want to “punish” someone for what they did wrong.
Punishing is more about making you feel control then actually changing their behavior.
So, I ask you to think about what helps you be successful. Which is the better teacher for you?
Someone in a higher status punishing you?
Shaming and blaming you for making mistakes?
Or someone bringing it to your awareness, letting you know about the problem and offering a way to solve it or learn to solve it?
By Guest Blogger: Kathy Boyle President of Chapin Hill Family Advisors.
As a first-generation business owner, you likely spent hours and hours of sweat, tears, frustration and exhaustion to grow your enterprise to where it is today.
As parents, we want to help our children and make life easier for them whenever possible.
This desire can carry over to the business, and we believe by giving the business to our children, we are giving them a gift.
Before you operate on the assumption you are providing a gift of a turnkey business, income, structure, clients or customers, perhaps real estate and more, take a moment to pause.
Are you giving your children the room and permission to communicate their true thoughts and feelings? Have you asked them for feedback?
Are you non-judgmental in hearing what they have to say?
Are you open to hearing that perhaps they wish to sell the business or take it in a new direction?
The business is like a baby to many founders so these messages can be hard to hear.
Recently, I met with a gal to discuss a start-up which was in her area of expertise.
We were connected via our shared connections in the animal rescue world so she had no idea of my core business.
When I explained that most of my time is spent working with family owned businesses on creating succession plans, she shared her story.
Her mom is in her late 60’s and is actively trying to bring her daughter into the business, which supplies a service to the legal industry. It is a very successful enterprise but this gal’s passion and career is writing about health, beauty and wellness.
I asked her how she felt about taking over her mother’s enterprise. Her reply was that she feared that turning it down would be a huge financial mistake.
However, her real love is the world she lives in, freelancing about all types of health and wellness products and venues. This area happens to be difficult to get back into if you step out of it so her concern was that if she chose her mother’s business and decided to bail, she could not pick up her former career.
The daughter was afraid to broach the subject with her mother as she recognized her mother viewed this as a huge gift. Taking over her mom’s business would create a path to financial independence without worrying about which magazine was paying her for freelance articles each month. She lives in NYC so the lifestyle is expensive and it is tempting to take this on.
On top of her anxiety over bringing up the subject to her mother, she was also frustrated as her mom stated she wanted her daughter to add value and create systems yet was resisting changes. The daughter was spending two to three days of her week working in her mother’s business and felt that her contributions were not being valued. This is another common problem we see in family businesses.
These situations are exactly where a life coach who specializes in family business communication can be a huge help to the family. One of our life coaches calls these “difficult conversations” as they are loaded with emotional content.
A trained professional can allow both sides to communicate freely yet without the conversation degrading into a fight or anger building up on either or both sides.
Allowing your children (or grandchildren) a safe space to tell you how they really feel is the best way to find out if you are bestowing a gift or passing on an unwanted asset.
Children are never exact replicas of either parent and have their own skill sets as well as passions and dreams.
While it may be very hard to hear, sometimes selling the business outright and providing funding for each child to either live a great lifestyle supplemented by investment returns or allowing them to found a business in a completely different arena may be the best possible outcome.
This can be really hard to fathom for an entrepreneur who loves what he or she does.
After spending a lifetime navigating their industry’s unique rhythms, parents only want to see his or her children run with the business and have an easier life than they did as they sacrificed to build the enterprise.
If you truly want what is best for your children, let them tell you it may not be a gift!
“We can make a time for you on Monday, is that okay?”
“No,” I answered, “but I don’t think I have a choice.”
Yeah, I was THAT blunt (but, I said it nicely.)
“No,” she agreed.
This was at the eye glass store after I had waited days for an appointment.
I had called on Tuesday.
They were closed, so I left a message.
Friday came, I had not heard back from them.
I called again and told them my daughter and I wanted to come and look at eyeglass frames.
They gave us an appointment for the next day, Saturday.
Or, so, I thought.
When we got there, they said that they could only see ONE of us.
After a week of calls and waiting, I was kinda frustrated.
(And if you know me, you know I don’t get prickly very easily.)
I was pretty sure I had mentioned on the phone that there were two of us.
While I can take responsibility for my bluntness, I also want to talk about their mistake.
This is something that can cost businesses customers.
They took no responsibility for the miscommunication.
More importantly, they showed no empathy for my situation and gave me no way to empathize with theirs.
When I explained my attempts to be in touch and the responses I had received, they just said they still couldn’t see me.
I felt dismissed and redirected.
As long as they just said, “Sorry, we can’t do that, you can come on Monday.” It felt like I was talking to something inanimate that didn’t see, hear or care about me.
I let it go, relaxed and they seemed okay for me to try some frames anyway.
By the end of our time there, my daughter and had a nice rapport with a different sales person.
So, I asked her if she could help me understand why my original voice message hadn’t been heard and no one had responded.
Were they particularly busy?
Once she was real with me and shared that they are short staffed and working two sites, I could empathize.
All it takes is being real and giving someone a way to empathize with you.
As soon as I could empathize, the feeling of being deflected and dismissed fizzled away.
So why didn’t they do it? Why do we all miss that step so often?
Because we have an idea that saying “Sorry” shows weakness.
And because we don’t want to be “at fault.” That would make us blameworthy.
Being blamed makes us feel weak or ashamed.
But, there is a way to empathize, and to take responsibility that shows strength, not weakness.
You know it, because you respect the people who do it.
You go back to the businesses who after a mistake, take responsibility and make an accommodation as a gesture towards relationship.
When you respond from “being right” and not from relationship, the other person feels ignored, unheard and unseen.
When you accept responsibility and empathize, you open communication and step into a relationship where the other person can feel valued.
Notice the next time a restaurant, store, or business steps into the vulnerability with you and notice how it eases the tension when they are ready to accept responsibility and honor the relationship.
If you are brave, try it in a conversation and see what happens. Instead of getting defensive, allow the feeling of vulnerability and while still standing strong with it, accept responsibility.
In almost every case, it will ease and diffuse tension.
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