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SessionGet Comfortable with Confrontation at Work

Get Comfortable with Confrontation at Work

The most difficult part of an uncomfortable conversation is initiating it. Mollie shares how embracing tough talks at work can actually improve relationships, strengthen trust, and lead to solutions that would've otherwise gone undiscovered.

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(inquisitive music) I was facilitating a training, and one of the participants in the training pulled out her cell phone and started emailing in the middle of the session. And later that night, I was thinking about it, and I was still feeling some strong emotions. And that was a cue to myself that, hmm, maybe I need to follow up about this. Just sort of framing a situation as fact, of like, here's what happens. Just curious, you know, your thoughts on it. Or you could even say, it makes me feel a certain way, because you really don't know what's going on in someone else's head. And she actually said thank you. At the end of the conversation, she said, "I'm really glad you brought this up, and I hear you, and I'm glad that you didn't keep this to yourself." That helps strengthen our relationship, because we increased trust that we would be honest with each other. (inquisitive music) Uncomfortable conversations can feel so daunting that we're tempted to just avoid them. But if you avoid discussing an issue with a coworker, you deny them and you the opportunity to improve the situation. We overestimate the risk of having the uncomfortable conversation. We're worried that the person might be mad at us or worried about damaging the relationship. And we underestimate the risk of not having the conversation, which means that there will continue to be conflict. (upbeat music) You do wanna address the issue right away, but the best thing to do is set a time to have that uncomfortable conversation that'll give you the time to calm down and to prepare to have the conversation. You don't wanna say, "Hey, I wanna have an uncomfortable conversation with you. Can I schedule that?" But you do wanna let them know the topic. "Hey, I'd like to have a conversation about how that meeting went. Can we find some time later this week?" (ethereal music) You wanna think about what you wanna say, how you wanna say it. You can even use the phrase, when you blank, I feel blank. And what that does is it makes it not a judgment about the other person, but an observation about what their behavior was, and sharing what the impact was on you. (inquisitive music) So if you feel like I have all the facts about the conversation and I'm ready to unload them on the other person, you're not ready to have an uncomfortable conversation. You need to go in with curiosity about where they're coming from as well. You wanna make sure that you have fully identified your feelings, that you understand where those feelings are coming from. What was the deeper need behind those feelings? They can't argue with how you're feeling. And so you're just saying, this is about me. This is something that you did, and here's how it made me feel. Stick around for an activity that will help you apply these tips...


Duration6 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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