Confronting Missed Agreements – FAIL (First Attempt in Learning)

So, yesterday, I blogged about courage and confronting someone about a missed agreement.  Well, I am happy to report I did it.  However, I am unhappy to report that, in my eagerness to get it over with, I didn’t do it very well.  

I was inspired by a presentation given by Amr Elssamadisy and Steve Peha at Agile 2013.  They made a fantastic point that people build trust by keeping agreements and one missed agreement can pretty much wipe out any trust that has been built.  It’s an excellent point.  They touched a little on why we hesitate to confront those missed agreements with the person who didn’t keep it but, the main point is, to confront it.

There are steps one must go through – on their own – prior to confronting said agreement and I’ll try to do them justice here.

1.  Safety:  What is meant by this is to evaluate how safe you are prior to making said confrontation.  Safety meaning will there be ramifications?  Will the person allow you to do so?  Is the relationship one where BOTH individuals are safe?  Are YOU able to make it safe for the other person to hear you?  Can they question you?  Can they disagree with you?  Safety is an integral part of any relationship but probably VITAL in an interaction such as this.  

2.  Whole Being:  Are you able to speak to this person as someone who is worthy of respect?  If not, waiting is a smart thing to do.  Any disdain or lack of respect will come out loud and clear in any type of interaction you have – written or face to face – so making sure you approach someone as one worthy of respect is critical.  And, really, I’m hard-pressed to come up with reasons why any person isn’t worthy of respect so, treating someone with it shouldn’t be difficult.  

3.  Owning your part:  You need to own your part of both the problem AND the relationship. And, it’s not just giving lip service to it, it’s truly owning it.  If you can’t or aren’t able to, you’re not ready to “confront”. 

So, here’s my reflection on why this wasn’t a good confrontation.  

I was anxious.  I wasn’t anxious to do this well.  I was anxious to just get it over with.  Already, this means I’m not owning my part nor am I seeing the whole being.  I was only seeing my part – how this missed agreement impacted me.  As far as safety goes, I felt safe but that doesn’t mean it’s safe for this person to have a dialogue about it.  In fact, I’d STILL prefer to not actually speak about it.  So, not wanting to even discuss it pretty much throws respect right out the window.  

So, what about this situation makes having this conversation so difficult?  I don’t want to open myself up and be vulnerable again.  I’m afraid of the impact it will have and my ability to handle it.  If I don’t have this conversation, I’m worried about the same except it’s with regards to future interactions.  And, see, that’s exactly why trust is such a vital element of any relationship be it 1:1 or 1:TEAM.  I need to do this for myself and in order to help others (possibly) some day do the same.

Well, one thing is for sure, I can’t let it hang out there.  I need to reflect on this some more and figure out what my next course of action is.  Meanwhile, it’s just another good Adventure in Learning (or Failing).  

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