Me: So when they asked you what your plans or aspirations were, what did you tell them?
Well, I did not say anything, because what were they going to do anyway? I mean, I am frustrated in my job and they can’t change that.
Me: What are the consequences of that conversation?
What do you mean?
Me: Consequences. What happens next?
Nothing, I keep going to work and they keep doing their job. Nothing changes.
Me: Is that okay?
No. But what else was I supposed to do?
Me: That is a great question for you to think about at some point.
A decision not to be open with what you are feeling or thinking is an action to allow decisions to be made with whatever information is known. When it is a work decision, it is whatever you have shared combined with what your leader or those involved in the decision have decided is the truth. When I hear a conversation like the one above, I always come back to “Are you okay with letting the decision be made with what is known?”
Start with these questions:
- What are the outcomes I am looking for?
- What information do they need from me to help with this decision?
- What information do I need from them to help with this decision?
- Am I willing to share what they need from me?
- Am I willing to ask for what I need?
For #4 and #5 – if No, then:
- Assume that all information you have (how you are feeling) will come out later – How will that impact the relationship? Is that the outcome you want?
The truth is never easy. But when I hear it being shared from both sides my experience tells me there is a great chance the right decision will be made and the relationship will be preserved.
This weekend I was asked to contribute to an article about retaining your best people. As part of it, they wanted my Top 3 things a leader can do to retain their best people. My #1 – Tell them how much you value them.
It may not always be that easy, but it is that simple.
Development note: Want to explore and develop your own ability to manage difficult conversations? One book that does a great job at this is Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott.