Four hours is common, eight fairly often or maybe an occasional forty-eight hours if you’re really livin’ right and lucky. That is the typical break-time between difficult situations and hard conversations when you manage a business.
I’ve found it interesting that what qualifies as a difficult situation or hard conversation is very dynamic; meaning that the degree of difficulty is often internal to our feelings at the time. What’s routine one day can become ominous a week later. A long-time good employee can suddenly flip to a feeling like a chronic foot dragger.
Difficult situations and the associated hard conversations can really take a toll on how you feel, your enthusiasm for your business, your overall disposition; it just starts to wear you down. After you get a little punch drunk from the relentless mental assault, your personal performance likely starts to degrade. Pretty quickly into a typical week, you’re just not your best self and without coping effectively over time you can end up well down the road to burnout.
Do you recognize common tell-tale signs?
- Always feeling at odds with people
- Having a short fuse
- Frustration with poor performance all around you
- A general state of tension
After a few decades of managing a variety of teams, I entered the business coaching arena where it’s a bit easier to be wholly objective. As an objective third party to many difficult situations and hard conversations, I have the benefits of seeing situations from outside the struggle and without the distraction of strong emotional attachment to a given position.
The last few years of business coaching has highlighted, circled, folded the page corner and scribbled in the margins of some Biblical wisdom…
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”Phil 4: 4-9 ESV
As a life application, consider what the Apostle Paul is saying to the church at Philippi; then, consider how you approach situations and people you encounter in your work.
It is very common for business owners or managers to let the challenges they face transform their disposition to one of cynicism and frustration. The daily trials will work to darken your outlook if you let them. If you are predisposed with a negative view of any circumstance, you can expect an increased likelihood of a negative outcome.
The reality is that you are managing situations and people every day; that’s your role. Approach every situation such that “your reasonableness can be known to everyone.” Give your frustrations and tensions over to God in prayer; not to your work associates.
Approach situations and conversations intentionally seeking the good, the bright, the half full side. Entering a situation with a positive disposition does not prevent you from making good decisions or taking appropriate action. An optimistic approach to all things maximizes the probability of a positive outcome as you work from a foundation of faith and confidence over negativity and fear.
As with any change, you must be intentional and committed to see it through. When facing challenges in your work or life:
- Be disciplined in looking for the positive
- Give your anxiety and tension over to God in prayer
- Experience peace through difficult situations and hard conversations
You will continue to navigate the inevitable difficult situations and hard conversations; but, you will find the burden much lighter and the outcomes more favorable when you follow a path guided by sound Biblical wisdom.