“I wish someone had said to me – I love you, but….”. So began a conversation with a friend who is now literally a shadow of her former self. Having cut down dramatically from 119kgs (261lbs) to the stage where she is now competing in triathlons, her life has been transformed.
In management terms, the critical conversation is the difficult one with team members around behaviours or performance. It’s intentionally choosing to say something rather than saying nothing. In everyday life, it’s the “saying things in love” to our friends, our family, our work mates. It’s, in the words of my friend saying “I love you, but…”.
It’s funny how people have since been quick to compliment my friend with some even suggesting “don’t lose too much weight” yet no-one had ever had the confidence to have the critical conversation with her when it was required. I can understand our reluctance to state what we think is obvious, not wanting to appear hurtful or disrespectful, but is this more about us than others? Is it because we feel uncomfortable?
If we genuinely care for someone, surely we should set aside our feelings of discomfort and have the critical conversation. Sure, we need to employ wisdom and tact in communicating any challenging or potentially confronting message, but for the long-term health (physical, emotional, spiritual) of our friend, we must have the critical conversation.
Ps Geoff Blight of Life Church Brisbane often talks about being a friend of someone’s destiny. If we’re to see our family and friends fulfil their potential, then we need to jockey alongside, encouraging and supporting. The toughest challenge we could face is to positively challenge others.
Let’s speak boldly with compassion. Let’s have the critical conversations.
Let hope rise.
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