Dad, I’m very unhappy about the way you and I have been handling a lot of the situations that come up at work. Our relationship is important to me and I don’t want to undermine things in any way. I’m very proud of our company and would like to make important contributions. I know that I may have a lot to learn, and some of my ideas might not always be realistic, but it would mean a lot to me if you would seriously consider what I have to say, and give me your feedback, pro or con. I know I can get hot headed, but I will work on listening more carefully to your opinions as well. I would appreciate if you would consider my feelings when you speak to me. I think it would also be important that we both consider what we say to each other when the other employees are in earshot.
There will be those who think that Matt’s statement sounded contrived and unrealistic. Obviously, each person must modify his message to one that feels sincere. What’s important to note is that Matt started his conversation positively. He clearly stated that his goal was to maintain a good relationship with his father. He spoke with humility, although not by putting himself down. He expressed a willingness to hear feedback, and a wish to be collaborative.
Now, just because Matt was taking steps to handle his angst in a new way (that made sense to him) did not guarantee his father would respond the way Matt wanted. His father was much more accustomed to complaints or sarcasm and was taken aback when spoken to so directly. And obviously, one conversation will not undo months and years of a contentious interaction. Sometimes family members are accustomed to the way things have always been and are resistant to the changes. Matt discovered that he had to be realistic and patient, if he and his father were to make inroads in their relationship.
As Matt began to speak up more assertively about his ideas, he discovered that others in the office were taking notice and were relating in a more positive, respectful way. Matt also learned some important things about himself: When a person feels more in control of negative emotions, they often have a greater sense of clarity and confidence.
Curated by Erbe