Just speak up

By Tami Bonnell, CEO, EXIT Realty Corp. International

Have you ever been in a situation where something is bothering you about a colleague, your company or a family member but you keep it to yourself and it just eats away at you? Often people let it simmer under the surface, and what started as a minor irritation keeps simmering until it boils and eventually erupts like a volcano, all because it wasn’t addressed.

I’d love to see people getting closer to one another, understanding, gaining perspective and growing by having better conversations. If you’re concerned about something – maybe your family member’s health, the performance of a team member, the actions of a neighbor or anyone you’re worried about – just speak up.

I’m not suggesting you pry into people’s lives or overstep your relationship, but if something is really bothering you, go have a conversation. There have been times when EXIT’s COO, Erika Gileo and I, have had a concern that we thought might escalate, so we set up a call with everyone involved. Right away, we established the ground rules by telling everyone present that we were not going to discuss anything personal, and we were going to give everyone the opportunity to speak. We assured them we believed we’re all connected and that everyone deserved to have a voice. We stressed that our focus was on finding a solution, but first we had to address the concerns. When using this approach, almost always we’ve been able to resolve the issue. If we didn’t address it right away and let it build up, I know for sure it would have gone in a different direction.

Maybe it’s time to have a tough conversation with someone in your office or on your team who shouldn’t be there. You could say, “I care enough about you to have this conversation. We’re going to have to get you into the right habits, or this is something that’s not for you. And if getting into the right habits is something you’re not willing to do, we’re probably better off knowing it sooner rather than later so I can help point you in a different direction. I want to see you and your family succeed.” It just takes a sincere willingness to do the right thing.

I think people often have a fear that the situation will escalate into a confrontation which could go badly. But if you let it build, it’s going to build a wall – a wall between you and a person, or the company you work for, or an opportunity. Instead of building a wall, having a conversation can build a bridge. By speaking up you have an opportunity to be part of the solution.

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