Are you afraid of having difficult, confronting conversations?

Picture the scene: you need to confront a colleague, a loved one or a friend about something they’ve done or not done. But you are afraid that the conversation will go badly. They will deny, they will overreact, they will shift the blame to you. And so instead you deny, ignore, and obfuscate that they ever did or didn’t do that for which you need to confront them.

Get this: one of the biggest fears we often encounter as leaders is about having difficult
conversations.

Astonishing, isn’t it? Perhaps it is due to us having an inbuilt, culturally amplified tendency
to want to avoid conflict. Perhaps it is due to us wanting to avoid those conversations with others, and ourselves, that may be difficult, and in which we may well encounter aggression.

But here’s the thing: when we confront our fears head on—and not displace them onto others through blame, or other avoidance mechanisms—it is easier to be honest.

Think about your interactions over the last few years. Now ask yourself the question: How many fierce conversations can I recall?

The point? For most people, fierce conversations are quite rare.

And what’s worse? We’re often not comfortable with revealing our real selves; we’re often not comfortable revealing our true thoughts in a social or business setting.

The cool thing, though, is that when we come out from behind the mask and speak with honesty and compassion, then we stop fearing difficult conversations.

And even better: this in turn makes it easier for others to be honest with us too.

The end result is the beginning of a more honest dialogue.

So, it all adds up to this, every time you feel that you are being guarded in your behavior, be mindful that this is tantamount to failure. By being overly careful you are postponing the behavior and the
conversation that wants and needs to be taking place.

It’s simple, don’t overthink it. Ask yourself:

• What am I avoiding saying that needs to be said?
• What conversations am I keeping bottled up inside?

To sum up, by having fierce conversations you release any tension that has been rising and you free yourself of the build-up of both emotional and physical toxins.

Find out more about being fierce in my new book, Fierce Reinvention: A Guide to Harnessing Your Superpowers for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Success ($11.99 digital, $15.99 print (USD), October 2017) is available from Amazon and other leading online bookstores.

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