Lauren Eimers talks about how prehistoric creatures and awkward conversations have something in common.
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Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello, and welcome to Episode 15 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The topic for this week is awkward conversations. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. So I’d like to welcome to the podcast this week, Lauren Rose Eimers. Lauren, would you like to introduce yourself?
Lauren Rose Eimers 0:39
Absolutely. So as you said, my name is Lauren and I am a team lead at big cartel, and I am super excited to be here. Super excited to be here.
Charlotte Ward 0:46
Super excited to have you, Lauren. Thank you very much. So Lauren, the topic for this week is awkward conversations. So I’m particularly intrigued to hear with your background, how you approach all the awkward conversations in the workplace or any other situations where you think this is going to be tricky?
Lauren Rose Eimers 1:07
Oh, yes. You know, I do think that having a background in counselling psychology and also in genetic counselling, where it wasn’t just awkward things that we would be talking about with our patients, but really difficult news. So I there are actually a few key things that I employ. One thing that I have learned is, it’s called essentially a warning signal. When you start out a conversation, you want to signal to the other party, where you reference something that you wanted to talk about, and maybe you had referenced in the email where you set up the call, you know, the person that you are chatting with knows that there is an issue at hand that like to be discussed. And so you, you reference that you say, hey, last Thursday when I sent that email about something I’d like to chat with, I think we really need to dig into this today. And that will prepare the other party So you’re not just kind of like dropping everything on them.
Charlotte Ward 2:03
Yeah. Isn’t that interesting? Because how many times have you received an email from your boss at like 10 past five on a Friday afternoon that says, Can you just come and see me before you go home? With no context, whatever? And how deep does that dread go?
Lauren Rose Eimers 2:18
Right? Right. And we are all creatures of habit, our brains only know to dig into past occurrences when we’re presented with something new. I mean, that’s how, you know we were able to survive sabre-toothed tiger attacks when we were cave people. But in this day and age, we don’t necessarily have to get flooded with that fight or flight cortisol rush with every new thing that we’re approached with. So that being said, even a little context and even if it is an awkward conversation that needs to be had, it should be referenced in that email when you are trying to set up a chat. Another thing that I think is super important is having a framework to operate from for awkward conversation. Having a framework to operate from is so great when emotions kind of start to bubble up. And we’re all human beings. I mean, it would be great if we were robots in certain situations, but we all have to mitigate emotions. Even if we are delivering the difficult news. It’s important for us to try to operate from that clear framework so that we’re delivering our message
Charlotte Ward 3:21
What does that framework look like then?
Lauren Rose Eimers 3:25
It could be anything from just having a little post-it note with bullet points of what you want to discuss in the conversation. It could be a full outline, that you even email to the other party to make sure that you’re both on track.
Charlotte Ward 3:37
And obviously, I guess, a lot of how formal that needs to be and how large that framework needs to be, depends entirely on the situation. One thing I spoke to Matt Dale, earlier this week, he talks about, you know for really difficult conversations, it helps him to frame it before he goes into the conversation if he has already somewhat created, that by effectively creating The email that documents the conversation without sending it to anybody. So leave the To field blank, but that forms in his mind, the structure of the conversation. That’s exactly what you’re describing, isn’t it?
Lauren Rose Eimers 4:11
It is it is. And, and so my third and final tip, of course, is if it’s a really sticky situation, in the counselling world, we always have colleagues or mentors, or supervisors that we can reach out to, and talk about these tough situations so that we aren’t going it alone. If you have support to help you kind of test the waters test what you would say, these are all really, really helpful ways to, again, back to getting that framework mapped out maybe when you first come into a situation, you’ve got that fight or flight cortisol rush that I just discussed. This can kind of help you mitigate that and talk from a place that’s a little more solid, a little calmer, a little more collected, and having someone who maybe has walked that path before, give you some pointers,
Charlotte Ward 4:59
So you mentioned there about maybe getting support from someone more senior to you in the organisation, maybe a boss or a mentor or something. Do you think that it is advisable to have them in the room with you when you deliver that news, particularly if you’re a new leader in this scenario?
Lauren Rose Eimers 5:15
This is such a wonderful question, because I think it if you kind of zoom out, it talks a lot about power. As new leaders, you’re still coming into your power, right? You’re still figuring out and getting your footing in this possibly new role, where many of us are now leading our peers in one aspect, bringing in a mentor or bringing in another manager or another boss, it can chip away at that foundation that you’re trying to build as this new leader. So you have to think of it from that perspective. But again, on the other perspective, it can make you as a new leader feel so much more secure in your delivery and so much more secure in your decision. But then again, if you’re speaking to another party, and they aren’t necessarily a colleague But maybe someone that you are leading, having two people in that conversation talking to one person who’s maybe a little lower down on that career ladder than you can also be incredibly intimidating. I always, I tread lightly when bringing in more people to a conversation that could be just had with you as a new leader and the person that you’re speaking with, but sometimes you do need to bring in reinforcements, and that’s okay, too. It’s never wrong to ask for help. And it’s never wrong to ask for backup, especially in the most difficult of situations. But if it’s something that you feel you can handle on your own, especially as a new leader, I say stand on your own two feet and give it a try.
Charlotte Ward 6:40
That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/15 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.
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