How Tough Conversations Can Transform Your Most Important Relationships

Recently, Nicole Unice joined Trent Dunham on the Decisions podcast and shared some leadership insight we hope will empower and encourage you in your leadership journey.

Frustration. Conflict. Misunderstandings. If you’re a leader and you have a pulse, you’re going to face them. But so often, we are given an opportunity for vulnerability and connection and instead of taking it, we shy away.

Instead of connection, what follows is distance.

In our work and ministry environments, trust is either eroding or building based on how we are engaging. And as leaders, so often instead of engaging and experiencing true transformation in relationships, we disengage and create distance in order to avoid conflict.

Why? We just don’t have time for it. We’re tired. It takes work. It’s awkward.

So what would happen to the health of our leadership if we added a few more tools?

Here are three things to keep in mind the next time you experience conflict as a leader:

1. Mean what you feel.

Honor your emotion and interpret it. In other words, interpret what you feel so that you can respond to it appropriately. It’s not that we want to be controlled by our emotions, but when your emotional awareness is high as a leader, you are going to be more effective and more productive. Your emotions are controlling you if you’re not appropriately interpreting them.

2. Say what you mean.

How do you engage when there has been a misunderstanding or even a breach of trust? What are your tactics?

Imagine you have your hands in your pockets and you have two tools, one in each hand. In the first hand you hold the tool I’m not as right as I think I am. Think about it for a moment: Is there even a 2% chance that you aren’t right? Train yourself to think, “I might not have all the information.”

And then in the other hand, you hold I’m not as wrong as I think I am. This is your experience and how you felt about it. One of your teammates missed a deadline and it was pretty frustrating for you. It held back your team and you want to set things right.

When you enter conflict and your words reflect both of those perspectives, you’re much more likely to come to a middle ground.

3. Do what you say.

It’s all about integrity! We often say we can do more than we actually can do. Or we say we are this certain kind of person and we’re not. So how do we come back from those failures and learn more about what it looks like to stay in alignment with our true selves?

None of this comes easy, but it’s the longevity and willingness to do the work that can make all the difference.

So next time, as a leader, an opportunity for a tough conversation presents itself…

Take it.

For more leadership insight from Nicole Unice, check out her book The Miracle Moment and the Decisions Podcast episode, Decisions with Nicole Unice.

+ More Insights from Dunham+Company: “If God Will Provide, Why Do We Have to Ask for Money?

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