In my last blog post, we looked at some of Brené Brown’s 10 Barriers to Courage, which are obstacles to bringing diversity and inclusion to the workplace and get in the way of any significant organizational change.
One of the biggest barriers is a reluctance to have tough conversations. We shy away from telling others “like it is,” instead opting for a sugar-coated and generally unhelpful approach to giving feedback.
So, how do you go about starting these tough conversations? How can you engage others in a way that is productive and that won’t alienate them completely?
Brené Brown’s Rumble Starters
Brené Brown talks about the importance of getting into “the arena,” and “rumbling,” aka, beginning the tough conversation and working your way through it. In a business setting, this could look like being in a meeting and getting into a deep, heated or challenging situation.
“A rumble is a discussion, conversation, or meeting defined by a
commitment to lean into vulnerability, to stay curious and generous, to
stick with the messy middle of problem identification and solving, to take
a break and circle back when necessary, to be fearless in owning our
parts, and, as psychologist Harriet Lerner teaches, to listen with the same
passion with which we want to be heard.”
It’s worth mentioning how important this language is. So often, in difficult conversations, we start it with, “why?” But when we do that, it instantly puts the other person in a defensive position because they already feel like they have to explain themselves.
Instead, if you begin with a “rumble starter”, you’ll open up the conversation and set yourself up to potentially make some big breakthroughs with the other person.
Here are some examples of rumble starters:
- The story I make up
- I’m curious about
- Tell me more
- That’s not my experience
- I’m wondering
- Help me understand
- Walk me through that
- What’s your passion around this
- Tell me why this doesn’t fit/work for you
Use these phrases, and you will find yourself engaging in conversations that are deeper and more informative than you may have expected, and with people you may not have thought you could engage with on this level.
I believe these conversation starters could be massive game-changers in the space of creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
If you are interested in learning more about how this work can benefit your organization, let’s talk. Click HERE to connect with me directly.
Photo Source: BreneBrown.com