Are you having problems dealing with a difficult boss? Do you want to get past the hurdle of a challenging colleague so you can come and leave the office without a strained relationship looming over your head?
It may be time to have that tough conversation with them so you can speak up and talk about the issues that are weighing you down. Unfortunately, difficult conversations take strategy, skill, courage, and confidence that you may not have. Not yet, anyway.
It is important to remember that your ability to speak up has an influence on your success in the office, at home, and with life in general. If you can’t get past the stressful experiences you’re having, your productivity is limited, relationships are strained, and opportunities are constrained. You don’t want that, especially because it will slowly chip away at your self-confidence and undermine your sense of security.
Unfortunately, if your heart race or you get that sinking feeling every time you think about talking to your boss or confronting a colleague, it will be difficult to put on a brave face. It would feel even worse if you crumble in front of certain people or when you beat yourself up before and after every attempt of having a tough conversation.
Here’s the thing though, if you don’t make an effort to have a courageous conversation, you will continue to struggle. The first thing you need to do is overcome your fears and hesitation.
How do you do this exactly?
6 Keys to Have the Confidence to Have a Courageous Conversation
- They’re human too
Regardless of how difficult your boss might be, they are human too and they’re likely to be throwing their weight around because they are under a lot of stress or pressure. Their problems might even come from a variety of sources and they’re having difficulty coping, which accounts for their challenging behaviour. The same thing could be true with a difficult colleague. If what you’re doing, or the lack thereof, is exacerbating the situation, then you should think of ways to help alleviate it.
- Being likeable
People are more likely to say yes to those they like and reciprocate accordingly. So make sure to build rapport and behave in a likeable manner. This can influence how people will respond to you. If you’re not doing this yet, you might want to switch to this tactic. Just don’t end up looking like you’re sucking up. This can have the opposite effect.
- Be your best self
It is possible that your confidence is lacking because you’re unsure of how confident and resourceful you are. If you’re mismanaging your state of mind and wellbeing, then you’re not setting yourself up to be the best version of you. So make sure you’re well-fed, watered, and well-rested.
- Create a positive zone
Think of a positive outcome and play it through your mind over and over again. Make sure to watch the entire scene unfold and savour every moment that you celebrate your success in those thoughts. Then, whenever you start thinking negative or playing out the worst case scenarios in your head, stop, and go to your positive zone. You know the adage. “Be careful what you wish for”
- Do something in their favour
What can you do to a challenging colleague as a favour? It doesn’t have to be grand, but something they will appreciate. Research showed that people are likely to reciprocate and do you a favour if you’ve done the same to them.
If it’s not possible to make the first move, make them feel like they’ve done you a favour. Even as simple as borrowing a book and showing your gratitude would make them feel open to you and receptive of your friendship or attention.
- Work on your own demons and fears
Is there a reason that you have difficulty having a courageous conversation? Did a horrible parent or teacher shut you down and stomped on your self-esteem? It may be time to unhook on that history and free yourself. It may just be what you need to find your confidence and courage again.
It is important to understand that a relationship is a system that you can control. If you change something with the system, you will get a different response or an outcome. So if you want to build a working relationship with your boss or colleague, change something. If you didn’t succeed in your first attempt at having a tough conversation, try again. Make sure to try all the strategies listed above and enjoy the fruits of your effort.