How to Improve Confusing Situations by Talking Them Out

Confusing situationsWe’ve all experienced confusing situations in our jobs and relationships that we wished would simply go away. These situations can be messy, political, and fear-filled, and outcomes unpredictable. We justify our fears by thinking “I don’t have the time or ability to improve the situation.”

Confusing situations throw you off-balance. To improve them, you must get outside your comfort zone. Remember, your inner mental chatter rarely improves or resolves anything. It’s the outside “chatter” or “talking it out” directly with the person or team, that makes the difference. This creates the potential for win-win-win outcomes.

The Top 5 Approaches that Don’t Work!

  • -Manipulating the Situation. Being a “know-it-all” and dominating the conversation won’t improve the situation.
  • -Blaming Others. Not taking responsibility for the situation won’t improve the outcome.
  • -Denial. Pretending a confusing situation doesn’t exist won’t have it magically disappear.
  • -Lying. Are you willing to put at risk your job, promotions, and pay increases? The truth always surfaces one way or the other.
  • -Fear. When fear is your overriding emotion, your commitment to resolving confusing situations disappears.

It’s time to commit, stand up, and talk it out.

  • If you have a problem working with your boss, sending out your resume won’t improve the relationship. Talk it out with your boss or HR.
  • When you are upset with an employee’s behavior, ignoring or sidelining them won’t improve them! Instead, talk it out, rewrite their job description, and/or hire them a coach.
  • When a client has lied to you, refusing to return their calls or ignoring them won’t resolve the issue. Instead, talk it out face-to-face after receiving coaching on how to do it effectively. (Don’t rely on previous experiences or current feelings to improve the situation!)
  • If you have a negative attitude towards your neighbor, building a fence won’t heal the issue. Talking it out over a BBQ can.
  • Implementing a new business model to fix the old model won’t improve a confusing situation. Instead, hire the right industry mentor and experienced executive coach to talk it out and resolve the underlying issue.

A Checklist for Win-Win-Win Outcomes

Talking it out and expanding what’s possible in the job or relationship is key to improving confusing situations. It takes time and requires sharing your POVs while listening to others’ POVs!  

  1. Ask a “what if…” question as an inquiry. (Hint: This means there is no right answer.)

For example:

  • -“What if each employee was responsible for being engaged in their job, what would that look like?”
  • -“What if you changed your job description, how would that improve your results with clients?”
  1. Engage your boss or everyone on the team through brainstorming. Yes, you want to hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions.
  2. Listen for the golden nuggets in each person’s POV on how to improve the situation.
  3. Stay away from biases or quick fixes.
  4. When the proverbial elephant shows up in the room, be vulnerable by sharing it openly and honestly instead of ignoring it.
  5. Align everyone on a solution before addressing the details.
  6. Fear will naturally arise when people operate outside their comfort zones. Talk it out. For example, “Where could we find new resources?” (This moves you past the excuses of why it won’t work.)
  7. Remind the team daily of the goal and intended outcomes. When new situations arise, and, they will, it’s time to talk further!
  8. Track success. Celebrate and brag about it.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2019

Jeannette Seibly has been a champion for people achieving results for the past 26 years. As an award-winning coach, she has helped 100s of bosses create more fun, 6-figure incomes, and success when working through confusing situations. Improve the outcomes of your confusing situations by contacting Jeannette for straight talk with dynamic results.

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