We dread it. We physically feel bad when we know it’s coming up. In many cases, we avoid it at all costs.

So what is this horrible deed? Talking.

Yep, a conversation. Often, an uncomfortable one. We know we need to share candid feedback – or receive it. But we don’t do it.

We pretend it didn’t happen. We pretend it isn’t important. Or we pretend we don’t have time. (After all, it is time to have those wisdom teeth removed.)

Real leaders don’t.

They still feel the discomfort, but they embrace it and have the conversation.

A person’s success in life can be measured by how many uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.
– Tim Ferriss

Here are some keys:

1. Be compassionate. Candid doesn’t mean ugly. Share the truth in a loving way. This isn’t an open invitation to berate someone.

2. Ask questions. Be sure you’re not making a leap from symptom to cause. Share your observations, not your diagnosis.

3. Focus on the desired result or action, not on proving that your point of view is correct.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
– Proverbs 27:17

Do you think uncomfortable conversations are necessary? Do you have any other tips or strategies that you’ve used successfully? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.