conflict conversation difficult conversations leadership May 08, 2023

I've had a range of different situations and examples across the past week where people have been asking a lot about communication, specifically, how blunt we should be, versus how sensitive we should be towards the other person.

In my experience in communication, it does you a disservice if you are too fuzzy, unclear, or not  specific about what it is you're trying to communicate. 

Sometimes when you're trying to protect the other person's feelings, you're going out of your way to not say exactly what you're thinking or feeling, you're sort of packaging it in a way that's appropriate or easy to understand or won't offend the other person, your communication is not as clear and as cut through as it needs to be. 

Your message doesn't land with the other person in the way you need it to. 

In my experience across organisations and coaching, working with leaders and executive teams, the biggest complaint that we hear about executive teams and leaders is around communication.

I've never worked in an organisation before that said, “Our communication is exceptional and everyone feels this way.”

There's always a group of people, an individual, a department or function that feels as though they're left out, not in the communication loop, the communication is too cumbersome, or the communication is not clear and concise. 

My tip for you when you're thinking about the next conversation you're going to have with someone, particularly if it's going to be a difficult conversation, is to write down the top three things that you would like to communicate with this person.

Keep it simple, write them as bullet points and have them there with you while you're having the conversation. 

You can also use this strategy with email. Concise and clear, three lines maximum based on your bullet points. 

When you're communicating with another person, it's the other person's responsibility to manage their own emotional state. It is not your job to manage someone else's emotions.

You don't want to be offensive, you don't want to be rude, but the other person is an adult who is responsible for their emotional world. Your responsibility is to communicate in the clearest, most concise way possible. 

If you are interested in more tips like this or any other leadership-related conversations, get in touch! We do a whole range of work around executive coaching, leadership development, and team building and we'd love to help you out in these areas.