How do you raise an issue that you have avoided for too long?

Who likes conflict?

Pretty much no-one!  (Including me!)

So it’s no surprise that a lot of us will avoid having a difficult conversation.

However, there might well come a time when we realise we have to have a difficult conversation and, at that point, we often regret not having it sooner; after all, it’s very hard to tell someone that this has been an issue for months and that this is the first time they are hearing about it. 

Imagine that was you, that you’d been doing something for a long time, and today I finally spoke to you about it. You’d have every right to be angry with me! And what makes this worse is that you’ve been living with the issue for all that time and so has everyone in your team – a double-whammy of problems!
I was training some Headteachers on how to have successful difficult conversations, and one Head was working on a conversation she needed to have with her site manager.

He often didn’t do what was asked and, because they had a big building project coming up, she really needed him to do what he was asked to do, as well as effectively manage the project.

At the end of the training day, she said she had been putting this conversation off for 3 years and now she was actually looking forward to getting this all out in the open and improving things for everyone; she had wished she’d tackled it earlier.

Top Tip: Confess

When this happens, be honest, tell them why you didn’t raise it with them before. There could be a range of reasons, such as: 

– You didn’t want to hurt their feelings. 

– You thought it was a one-off, but now a pattern has emerged. 

– You hoped the issue would fix itself and, because it hasn’t, you feel you need to raise it, etc. 

Give whatever is the truthful reason for you not speaking about it before.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help train you and your team to have successful difficult conversations, contact our Customer Success Manager Nisha to arrange an initial conversation. Her email is nisha@ukheadsup.com.