If we were watching two people argue, it’d probably be pretty obvious the major things that were going wrong. We might observe raised voices, one person cutting the other person off, or a condescending tone. It seems so clear what’s going wrong in the moment. What we don’t often consider is that the conversation may have been sabotaged before either one of them even opened their mouth!

Let’s say I run operations in a company, and you run sales. It’s Friday, end of quarter, and you just made an unbelievable sale.

You’re EXCITED!!!

I review the sale and see it’s impossible to deliver on it.


How I handle my fury when I come speak with you will either hurt or help our relationship.

Here are 3 ways I can sabotage the situation. In other words, here’s what not to do!

1. The Blame Game

If I stammer into your office ready to throw all the blame on you without even taking a breath, I’m really not helping the situation. You’ll become defensive, and a wall will rise between us. Whether I think it’s your fault or not, walking in with that mindset and strictly blaming you does not work toward a solution.

2. Not Having a Purpose

On top of my blaming, if I cannot define the mutually beneficial purpose of creating the conversation with you, then I’m not going to get very far. Especially when I’m holding you accountable for something I feel set me up for failure, sharing a mutually beneficial purpose, like “I want us to work better together as the company grows this year”, will create safety for us to address whatever happened.

3. Poor Timing

This is the emotional intelligence factor. If I’m seeing red because I’m infuriated from the impact of what you did, it’s probably better I cool off. Sometimes the moment we feel most compelled to speak about something is the very worst time. Based on past experiences, ask yourself whether you speak up too soon and if you need to learn to cool down before initiating conversation.

Are there any other things that sabotage conversations?

Yes, and most of them are tough to overcome. The cure? A robust set of skills that allow us to adapt to the needs of every conversation. Our Strengths-based communication course, Conversation Mechanics: How to Talk About It, does just that!

Click here to learn more and register. Stop sabotaging your conversations so you get the results you want!

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