I often speak of valuing “Courageous Communication.”
To me, courageous communication is the understanding that something needs to be said or addressed, and then doing it even though there is discomfort in doing it.
Most opportunities for courageous communication are not addressed. There’s a voice in your head that says, “this ought to be addressed” and another voice in your head that argues “if you try to address it, it will go wrong.” The things that could go wrong are endless: “Nothing will change.” “There will be drama.” “They will hate me for saying it.” Et cetera, et cetera.
But my experience is that the problem rarely goes away when the second voice wins out and courageous communication is delayed. It gets worse and the intervention required has more drama, more hard feelings, and a larger hole to fill in.
So, my advice is to step up your game.
First, recognize the opportunities to communicate courageously. When you see them, begin to plan to address them quickly. Note that I don’t say immediately. Courageous communication should be well thought out. Perhaps you could role-play what you intend to say and how you will say it. So, be quick to communicate but don’t hurry.
Second, embrace the “suck.” Over time you will become more skilled at courageous communication. You will do it more often and quicker. But it will never be a joyful experience. Saying hard things is doing a hard thing. Courage isn’t the absence of fear and trepidation. Courage is leaning in when you feel fear and trepidation.
Third, you will be glad you did it. My experience is that courageous communication always makes things better. It builds trust and clarity. It keeps problems from escalating. So, embrace it. You will get better. You will appreciate the outcomes.