Silence is not always golden

70 percent of employees avoid challenging conversations. Why?

Silence is not always golden
Photo by Ernie A. Stephens / Unsplash
You can measure the health of relationships, teams, and organizations by measuring the lag time between when problems are identified and when they are resolved.

Just look at the numbers: according to the startup Bravely, 70 percent of employees admit to avoiding challenging conversations with their colleagues. Now, this might not be so striking if not for a 2016 study that found that every failed conversation costs companies $7,500 and 7 days of work. Not only that, but a 2008 report revealed that the average employee spends 2.8 hours every week managing difficult situations – situations that might have been avoided if we weren’t so reluctant to have hard conversations in the first place.

Most leaders get it wrong (myself included). When changes fail, it's not because of the process, the technology or the individual contributors - it's often because we fail in getting people to hold one other accountable to the process or the change itself. Why? Because having a tough conversation scares employees so they avoid them.

If a conversation has (1) High stakes, (2) Opposing opinions, and (3) Stong emotions it's a Crucial conversation. Do Not Ignore It.

I'm reading the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High . I see many parallels between the skills required to plan and participate in a necessary conversations and what makes a coaching mindset so powerful. If this is a topic you want to hear more about, let me know with a comment.