Main Article: Inviting an Uncomfortable Conversation

By Tyler Graeff

Of our three core values, the one that challenges us most in our development as leaders is Continuous Improvement. We should always be taking personal inventory as well as seeking feedback from others so areas of improvement can be identified. Often times until topics are discussed in an uncomfortable conversation, we may not know where we need to grow.

In Chapter 26, Witt talks about inviting and receiving uncomfortable conversations. “Hold on Witt, you mean that we are supposed to invite these kinds of conversations and embrace them?” During my early stages as a leader, I found it difficult to receive and participate in those tough conversations. Especially those that were a reflection of my performance and character. It was a natural tendency for me to become defensive, and the root was insecurity.

Witt says that all of us struggle with some form of insecurity, whether we would like to admit it or not. Everything in us wants to resist having those hard conversations because of it. If we are striving to model our core value of continuous improvement, we must embrace having those uncomfortable conversations so that we can grow and help others in our sphere of influence grow.

In the midst of uncomfortable conversations, I have needed to remind myself of who I am in Christ. The good news is that my shortcomings are no surprise to God. He already knows our weaknesses and at the end of the day, the truth is we are gloriously saved and on our way to heaven. So why wouldn’t we welcome conversations that could help us grow?

One cannot simply remain the same when accountability is invited in the picture, there will be some kind of a shift or challenge presented within ourselves. Having these conversations within a team begins to challenge us to cultivate a culture of honor and honesty. Witt leaves us with a challenge when we are faced with an uncomfortable conversation: Lean in and embrace the conversation and consider the opportunity to grow.

Below you will find a good model for leading uncomfortable conversations:

Pray through your own anger and initiate the contact

  • Don’t let emotion lead you. Wait until you’re objective, but deal with issues before they get bigger.
  • Don’t wait for the other person, scripture beckons you to make things right whether you are the offender or the offended.  

Hold a Fact-Finding Meetings

  • Explain what you have seen and/or heard and how you see & understand it
  • Then ask them to explain how they see it
  • The meeting may be more of a clarification than a confrontation.

Listen and allow them to respond

  • You must stop and allow them to respond. They may present a new perspective that will help you both.
  • They may also throw up on you, listen anyway. Give them time to process and answer

Establish forgiveness and repentance, if necessary

  • Connect the issue you are correcting with who they are in Christ
  • Don’t conclude the meeting until issues are clear and resolved and forgiveness is extended, even if it ends with them being in the wrong or leaving

Pray and affirm your appreciation as you close your time together

  • Always close these times with prayer. Give them hope, and remind them of their place in God’s heart and yours

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