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A person’s success in life can be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.
As a Product Manager, you are likely to face many difficult conversations, for example, stopping work that fails to align with top priorities, giving feedback, negotiating roadmaps, and apologising when you took your eye off the ball.
Mastering difficult conversations can give you superpowers. You can get the confidence to promote new product ideas, drive organisational changes, and lead your group.
Conversations fall apart when we say, "I am right, and you are wrong." This is because we have more information about ourselves than we have about the other person. We know our intent, but we judge their intent based on their action. We also base our deduction on what suits our pre-conceived ideas.
How to overcome this limitation:
Feelings are at the centre of a difficult conversation. Ignoring emotions can cause resentment, anger, and broken relationships.
There are three steps to expressing feelings in difficult conversations.
In the identity conversation, you start to worry about what the conversation says about you.
Three core identity-related questions we think about:
You are more likely to lose balance if there is a gap between what you believe to be true and what you fear to be accurate.
To regain balance:
1. Start from the third-person perspective.
It helps you create distance to have a broader point of view and to express yourself more objectively.
2. Listen more intently
Use the SOAR framework
3. Speak for yourself with clarity
Most people prefer to be with people who speak their mind. We trust them and feel confident in them. Assertively state your story without aggression or getting defensive.
"In fact, the confidence of the people is worth more than money." ~ Carter G. Woodson
Navigating difficult conversations is a skill that gives you Product Management superpowers. It can help you influence, negotiate and lead effectively.
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