Tell it like it is

I am not usually a big fan of book reviews on blogs. Not because I don’t like books, I do, a lot. But mostly because I don’t have much time to read books so I don’t see the point in making my “to read” list any longer. (More on that tomorrow). I kinda assume the same thing about you, my wonderful readers. You make the time to read my blog and probably a bunch of other great blogs online (my favourites on listed in my blog roll on the side), but you probably, like me, don’t have as much time as you would like to curl up on the couch with a good book.

All that being said, I can’t help by share my excitement and LOVE of this book I just read for that class I am taking. Because it was for a class I had to make the time, but if I had known just how valuable it would be I would have read it years ago.

The book is called: “Fierce Conversations” by Susan Scott. And no, it is not about how to have loud, angry confrontations with people. The ‘fierce’ in “Fierce Conversations” is all about having robust, authentic, intense and honest conversations with people.

You see, most of us are confrontation and conflict avoidant. We don’t want to get into a fight, we don’t want to make someone upset, we don’t want someone to not like us and we are nervous about addressing the tough issues. We just don’t. But as a result, many of us leave issues in our personal, parental and professional lives unaddressed, causing more problems in the long run.

That’s the other thing I love about this book. It is a business book and a self-help book, and even in some ways a parenting book, all wrapped into one. It is meaningful to all aspects of our lives.

Essentially this book takes you through a lot of activities for self discovery, assessment, defining your values and objectives, pin pointing the key issues that are holding you back and challenging to have those tough conversations with both yourself and with others.

I like it. I think I am predispositioned to like this book though. I am very introspective. I am very open and tend to put all my thoughts out on the table. I am so bothered by what I see many managers and leaders do: ignore critical issues and not have the tough conversations needed to address them. It drives me nuts to see someone not doing well or driving a team nuts and their boss not sit them down and really level with them. How cruel is it to let a person continue to burn bridges, negatively impact team objectives and likely be personally miserable, with out sitting them down and telling them point blank? Or someone who has a friend who is driving them nuts and it is totally threatening the relationship, but they do nothing about it for fear of hurting the persons feelings. This book counsels us on how to have those conversations that you’ve been avoiding in a way that is as non-threatening and yet honest. How to state your concerns without the load of blame, name calling, intimidation, exaggeration or anything else. (Susan talks about this on page. 200-201).

What would happen if we clearly, concisely, compassionately and openly had all those conversations we have been avoiding. How much better would our relationships and the outcomes in our families, jobs and lives be?

I am a big believer in ‘tell it like it is’ but with kindness and compassion. And my goal is strive towards this in all aspects of my life. I am tired of letting conversations go unsaid.

And, just as a side note, Susan doesn’t suggest that we all need to say everything we are thinking. There is no need to share with someone, for example, that you don’t like their dress or that you think their boyfriend isn’t right for them or anything of the sort. This isn’t about just telling people all the things you think they need to know. This is about having the tough conversations to address issues in your life that are having a negative impact. You can still have your little white lies to protect someone elses feelings.

Really, you all neeeeeeed to read this book.

What do you think? How do you deal with confrontation? Do you think things would be improved if we had the tough conversations we needed to have? Do you have conversations you are avoiding? Tell me what you really think. 🙂

*Last side note: these are my personal thoughts on the book “Fierce Conversations”. I am getting no compensation what so ever for this book review, I am only telling you about it because I LOVE. I am providing a link to the Canadian book retailer Chapters Indigo so that if you decide to buy it or take it out from the library you have all the info to make sure you get the right book.

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4 responses to “Tell it like it is

  1. Lisa Sunbury November 18, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I generally deal with confrontation by avoiding it, until I can no longer keep silent, and then I sometimes express myself in ways that guarantee the other party won’t hear me. I continue to work hard to communicate directly and clearly with others. I actually discovered “Fierce Conversations” several years ago, when I was struggling to find a way to express myself to anybody about anything at all. Like you, I found a lot of value in the book. It is an encouraging book. In fact, right now there are some important conversations I have been avoiding, and I think I should go back and read this book again as a refresher. Does Susan Scott talk about how to engage someone who doesn’t want to listen, or refuses to engage in constructive dialogue? I don’t remember.
    I still sometimes find it hard to directly and calmly confront someone in conversation, although I’ve practiced this skill, and have gotten better at it over time. I find it very helpful/ useful to write about what I’m thinking/feeling to help me sort it all out, and express ideas or feelings that are important to me. I most definitely believe my life has been improved, and I’ve possibly made a positive difference in the lives of others , when I’ve been able to have the “tough” conversations. This is something I will continue to work on.

    • amoment2think November 19, 2010 at 1:04 pm

      I totally think all this is a learned skill and like any learned skills we need practice and refreshers. I remember her addressing how to deal with unreceptive people, but she was not in particular depth about that issues, except to say that if you really are clear, concise and deliver the message without the load, they may not respond right away, but given some time they will typically come around. I would be interested in hearing more about that piece as well, though.

  2. Perpetua November 19, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I like that you are bringing the controversy by talking about books that help us talk in a more open way. 🙂

    I usually have trouble with this not because I avoid confrontation, but because it sometimes takes me a loooong time to figure out what I’m thinking. When I’m having a disagreement with Wizard, for example, I’ll get really quiet, and he demands an immediate answer to what’s wrong, and I really just don’t know. Sometimes I won’t know for a day or so.

    We figured out that he sometimes just has to postpone discussions for a day, until I can get my feelings in order. It took us awhile to get to that point, though.

    • amoment2think November 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm

      Oh my gosh, we react in totally the same way. I often have a hard time really identifying what is bothering me… or maybe I just prefer to really think it through before I speak because many of us confront someone with what is actually the surface issue, while avoiding what they are really feeling and afraid to say. Anyway, my husband also gets frustrated when I can’t articulate right away, but he too is learning that it really is best to just let me be. I don’t think this is a barrier to ‘fierce conversations’; it just impacts the timing of them.

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