Now, were her feelings correct? It doesn't matter, that is how she felt and I own that. Did I love hearing that I had caused someone to feel that way? absolutely not, but this valued employee had essentially saved our working relationship. How much damage could have been done if she continued on feeling that way? I am guessing down the road a shocking and sudden "blow up" would have occurred that would have left both of our heads spinning, or worse.
The fact is, I needed to hear that. Now, I am aware and armed with the knowledge that I have to be better. I need to ensure that I meet her needs or support, openness and communication. After I told her how grateful and proud I was of her for speaking up I told her that I expect to hear if I am ever causing her to feel that way again and that I would also be checking in on her to see how we were doing with our communication.
What is the first thing you think of when someone says, "we need to talk", "can we have a moment?", "I have some feedback for you...". Are you suddenly gripped with gut turning fear? Perhaps not, but I am certain you are like most people and you are at the very least thinking "ok.... here we go".
So, why does this happen? why are we so afraid of feedback? Some common reasons that I have come to realize are all based on fear, fear of an emotional reaction, fear of the unknown, fear of feeling picked on. I think that as a society our environment has brought us to an apex of emotion. We don't want to hear what we are not doing well, but we demand to hear what we are doing right.
I hear often, "these millennials" or "what is with the entitlement these days". I often ask, "what would you say to the person(s) that make you feel this way if it were easy and you could just say what you felt?". I actually get some great responses and feedback and it makes me wonder, "what would your life be like if you just said what you were thinking?".
As my story above shares, it is the conversations we have, or do not have that define the relationships in our lives. How long have you lived in turmoil not saying the thing that you desperately wanted to say, what was the cost of that relationship?
Be brave, have the conversation, say what is bothering you. I promise that your relationships will be more authentic and far less stressful. If you are on the listening side of this conversation. Do just that, shut out your own inner voice and listen, and I mean actually listen. No interruptions or cutting off, just listen.
Until next time,