Does this story sound familiar?
The other day I was working with a client, and they confided that they were extremely frustrated with their partner at work. Things weren’t going their way, they were experiencing a lot of frustration, but they didn’t feel like they could say anything about it. They wanted to be transparent, but they didn’t feel like they were ‘allowed’ to speak up.
So we decided to lay it all on the table.
I brought in the owner and partner in question, and the three of us had a very eye-opening conversation. Nothing was off limits. All the things they were afraid to discuss, got discussed. And you know how it went?
I’ve seen this countless times: the things we think we’re afraid of, that we think will cause us the most harm, often are exactly the things we need to face. Conversations like this are where we can share and clarify. Once you can talk about the problem, and the risks, without it being personal, you can connect more as a team and make unprecedented progress. Talking about these things more, not less, often has the opposite effect of what we’re afraid of: it diffuses the reactions and the defenses. It makes things simpler. We can’t get defensive when there’s nothing left to defend.
All we’re doing is problem solving.