Make the Covert Overt

Our team at Good Karma Brands knows GKB is a team sport, which means it also makes it a tougher and more stressful sport. On any sports team, you rely on your teammates to help you win. You win together and you lose together. When you have a conflict with a teammate or they handle a situation differently than you would, it’s frustrating because their actions hurt your chances of being successful (in your opinion).

Consider the following scenarios:

Scenario 1: You have a conflict with a coworker but decide to keep your head down and focus on your job. You don’t directly manage the teammate that is frustrating you, so you’re not going to say anything. You progressively get more annoyed at that coworker because they continue doing what was annoying you. Soon, everything about this coworker begins to annoy you because you haven’t addressed the first situation that bothered you – the way they walk, what they wear, what they eat, the questions they ask you – it’s all very annoying and frustrating. Eventually you start complaining to others about this frustrating coworker, but you still don’t talk to them directly or tell their manager. As a result of one situation, you are now less satisfied with your job, which means you’re probably not as happy in the office or at home, you’re not sleeping as well, your workouts are not as good and overall, you’re just not very happy. Avoiding direct conversation initially causes more tension and less opportunities to win.

Scenario 2: You have a conflict with a coworker but decide that although uncomfortable, you choose to have a difficult conversation with the teammate that is frustrating you. This is called a crucial conversation because all three elements are present: high stakes, differing views, strong emotions. In this scenario, a few things could happen as a result:

a. It turns out there was a reason for the teammate’s actions, it totally makes sense to you now and you feel better about the teammate.

b. It turns out the coworker had no idea they were doing this ‘thing’ that bothered you or no idea that they shouldn’t do it that way and immediately change their actions.

In both (a) and (b) the teammate now feels more comfortable being open with you and your relationship is better.

My therapist once told me “make the covert overt” in these situations. For us to win as a team, we should not pre-determine how and why people are doing things that frustrate us without discussing with them first. After we have listened to their answers, we can let them know how we feel about it (good and/or bad). These are both difficult and crucial conversations to initiate. However, once you do it, you will find that your relationships are better, you enjoy GKB more and we will win more.

Approaching situations like the 2nd scenario will increase your chances of winning and will ultimately be healthier both mentally and physically for you AND the team.

Shout out to Danielle Brandon, our Senior Director of Organizational Development for introducing the crucial conversations concept and leading our team through these discussions.