I recently came home from a walk with my pup, Brody, to find my sister at my place in distress. I was determined to get to the bottom of it. One thing you need to know about my sister is that it takes a lot to get under her skin so I knew her concerns were real.
On the surface, she loves her workplace and the opportunities she has there. It is truly a great place to work. They have unlimited vacation days, they work hard and play hard everyday. She is a millennial in the workforce, and she came across her first growing pain – job clarity. Now, how many of us can relate to her? I think we call can.
As I began asking questions to 1) support and comfort her and 2) get to the root of the issue, I discovered that she was hired for one role that has morphed into a flurry of many roles (awesome right?!) She was in heaven because she was learning all new facets of the business and figuring out what she liked to do best and with 100% blessing and guidance from her CEO. But here is the kicker, with all this new responsibility comes the drama. A coworker who is in a higher position and has been there longer most likely wanted the responsibilities that were given to my sister. You see where this is going? My sister was clueless about these feelings until she realized that working with her coworker was not the same. The worst part of this situation is that when they work together, they are an awesome team. She feels stuck and uncertain on how to fix this situation. She wants to continue to learn and advance in the company, but she doesn’t want to step on any toes in the process.
Here comes the need for my Crucial Conversations Participants Toolkit by VitalSmarts. The Law of Crucial Conversation states that anytime you find yourself stuck, there is a crucial conversation you’re either not holding or not holding well. This was definitely the case! So, where do we start or go from here? I literally pulled out my toolkit from our training session, and we talked about what problem she was looking to solve.
Is it a Content problem? – a single instance of a problem. If either the action itself or its immediate consequences is the issue, then you’ve got a content problem.
Is it a Pattern problem? – a recurring problem, which is a pattern of behavior over time.
Is it a Relationship problem? – how the problem is affecting your working relationship, e.g., trust is suffering or competence is in question.
After going back and forth between Pattern and Relationship we determined it was a Relationship problem that needed to be addressed. These are the toughest conversations of all! My sister felt unstuck because she felt confident in the type of conversation she needed to have with her co-worker.
Before she speaks with her coworker, she thought it would only be fair to talk with her boss first to share with him the need for all three of them to meet and get clear on their roles so that they can be aligned and clear up the uncertainty. I am so proud of her!!
The meeting is this afternoon, wish her luck!
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