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Four Steps to Guilt-Free Communication – Part 1

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26)

Do you dread difficult conversations or avoid conversations that may cause someone to be upset?

There are many circumstances in life where we have to provide feedback, and we often struggle over how the person is going to respond. This situation could be in the workplace, in a volunteer capacity, or with family members or friends. If you have not yet developed a strategy to deal with these conversations, you may have found yourself in one of these three situations more often than you would have liked:

You may have:

  • Avoided the conversation

  • Delayed the conversation, or

  • Rushed the conversation

These three circumstances cause undue stress and anxiety. Avoiding the conversation does not mean that the problem goes away. Delaying the conversation means the issue is on your mind and a source of stress longer than it should. There is also a significant likelihood of the problem worsening since it is not being addressed. Thirdly, rushing into a conversation may mean you are not prepared nor in control of your emotions.

As a business owner, it is my responsibility to ensure my business runs well, which means systems are in place, and people know what to do. It would be wonderful if everything went smoothly, but we all know that is not the case! If someone is not performing the way they should be, has said something to a customer they should not have, or is not aligned with our policies and procedures, I need to address it. Caring about each of my employees does not excuse me from having conversations with them which they may find difficult to hear. Being in authority does not excuse me from being kind and respectful while I am firm and clear. It needs to be a balance of care, honesty, and truth in a clear conversation.

The solution? Having a strategy that works for you, based on sound business and biblical principles; an approach that starts with the uncomfortable feeling something needs to be addressed and ends with a conversation prepared for and delivered in a caring, straightforward way.

Whether you are providing a performance appraisal, telling a friend that they have offended you, or are parenting a child, there are always two things that we need to communicate, and we often struggle with doing them both well.

  1. One is the concern we have for the person. We worry about how they will take the discussion, will they be offended, will they understand what is being said, and will they understand that we care about them.

  2. The other is the objective information which we need to give to them. It may be something they have done incorrectly; it may be that they are working below standards, or it may be a request from them to which you need to respond with kindness.

Have you been struggling with whether or not you should discuss something with someone? Or are you struggling with how you should tell someone something? If so, follow us over the next few weeks as we unravel a four step process that starts with deciding if you should be saying something and then how you should say it.

God bless you this week as you do all you need to do!

Bonny, Christian Women at Work

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