If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I’m not a fan of the grind mentality. I don’t think working harder than everyone else is as effective as working smarter. I believe in rest and self-care. I believe in making sure that a minimum of 80% of what you do consists of things you enjoy. However, that doesn’t mean the hard stuff is unnecessary for success.
As much as we don’t like to do hard stuff, it is the way we do it that is most remembered. Hard stuff is also where we have the most opportunity for growth and improvement. Here are some examples of hard stuff:
Someone approaches you and wants to give you honest feedback. It is someone you trust. The easy path is to avoid the conversation, tune out to what is being said or convince yourself that the other person is wrong. But what benefit do you get from ignoring the feedback? Absolutely none. It is hard to listen to someone tell you that you messed up. It hurts. But when we listen to understand, then take an honest assessment and make targeted changes, we become better.
A very serious mistake is made at your business. Several customers are involved and all are upset. The easy thing to do is to avoid the situation and the fallout. Let your staff deal with it. It is much more difficult to meet with upset people, hear their concerns and honestly respond to them. Integrity is taking responsibility for what happened, even though you didn’t personally make the error, you have to be the one to apologize for it. And because your staff is upset, addressing their concerns over the situation as well. It will involve feedback and making a plan to avoid the mistake in the future. While it is hard, it gives you the best opportunity to recover from the error and is what will be remembered by people after the fact.
Dealing with staff creates lots of opportunities to do hard stuff well. While we all want to hire the right person who always does the right thing, it is never that easy. Sometimes we hire a great person who isn’t great for your organization. Sometimes we hire someone who does unacceptable things. Sometimes a great employee gets stressed or angry and isn’t behaving like a great employee anymore.
Giving people tactful and real feedback is critical to having an organization that works well. If someone isn’t aware that it isn’t working, they have zero opportunity to fix it. Assuming “they should know” is wishful thinking and is unfair to both you and them. It is hard stuff to look someone in the eye and tell them what they are doing isn’t working. It means you have to deal with the emotional fallout, including reactions from the rest of your team if the person either complains or leaves. When you provide specific, actionable feedback, you provide the opportunity for improvement.
Letting go of someone is always hard stuff. You often know things about someone’s personal situation. You may remember times when you had to unexpectedly find a new job. You may be thinking about the extra work that will fall on you or your team. If you’ve made every effort to provide feedback and they haven’t corrected their behavior, it is your responsibility to help them leave gracefully. Start by telling them that the decision is already made. This lets them know that no matter what they say, it isn’t going to change. Do your best to keep the situation from becoming charged and help them leave with their belongings quickly. Involve your team only with the information they need to know.
Sitting in the seat of the business owner or manager can be hard stuff. Your customers rely on you to provide a great experience. That starts with the people who work for you and ends with your boss skills. Remember, you are gifting people with a livelihood and creating skill sets they didn’t have. That’s the good stuff. The experiences each person has revolving around your business or the company you work for will be remembered and talked about for years to come.
Charlise Latour a business coach and owner of Accelerate Your Success. She works with each client to determine what their goals are and create a plan so they can achieve them. She is actively involved in Dancing & Singing With The King which raises money to promote dance education including working with local schools to offer dance classes during the school day. This is a natural fit as she is an avid ballroom dancer.