Maybe it would be better than you think… try it with me, now.
A classic exercise you can work with straight away (credits below)
Take a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle.
In the right-hand column, write a conversation that left you frustrated, angry — that didn’t live up to expectations. Put down a few key lines of dialogue like a movie script; what was said.
In the left-hand column, write (honestly) what you felt and thought, but *didn’t* say. Maybe you thought you couldn’t? (Maybe you were right!)
Now, think about how you could skillfully surface that left-hand column into the right! Whaaat?
Yes — be generous enough to the other person to believe:
- they care enough to want to know
- they’re big enough to learn
While we keep that left-hand column ‘secret’ (you think it doesn’t leak out?!), we can make ourselves the hero or victim and the other person the bad guy.
OR we can treat our feelings and thoughts as data that can help us all to do better. It takes practice to build up to doing it skillfully, but the sooner you start, the quicker you learn.
What might happen if you shared your left-hand column? Really?
This classic originated (as far as I can ascertain) in the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook (which I find far better than the Fifth Discipline), in a brilliant little piece by Rick Ross and Art Kleiner (sandwiched between highly complementary bit from Rick Ross, and Robert Putnam). It draws from the work of Chris Argryis, and together this set of work forms the heart of the honest conversations practices in our Five Core Practices (see https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6742346429211136000 )
The workbook I very highly recommend is “Discussing the Undiscussable – A Guide to Overcoming Defensive Routines in the Workplace” by William R. Noonan