Leadership Insights

Family have conversation during dinner

Imagine If Your Conversations Changed The Way Your Children Teamed – Both Now And In The Future

Your children listen to everything you talk about.

And they understand a lot of the conversation, whether you believe it or not. Your children know how you feel about work, your past, coworkers and your boss. If it’s discussed at the dinner table, they hear and they know. Does it affect how they see things?

During one of our summer travels, my husband & I enjoyed an amazing dinner out at a local Kansas City BBQ joint. As we settled in, the group next to us began replaying a bad meeting with incompetent teammates. Within 90 minutes, they created a narrative that I hope no one ever has to hear again. 

While my husband and I have been saying that we want to change the conversation at the dinner table, all this time, I was imagining a meal with family. What I didn’t really consider is the conversation for a team at lunch or dinner or on the road together. The amount of energy we give to posturing and self-promotion vs what we could be doing to create, connect and innovate is staggering. 

So, imagine your child entering into a new group project or being selected on their sports team. As they look around do they see teammates or do they see adversaries? Do they see the values of the differences on the team or do they see ways that they can win on their own? It’s in these moments that your child determines their “fit” on the team and recalls the lessons they have learned or conversations they’ve observed. This is the part where “everything we learn starts at home”. 

I founded The Conversations That Matter (TCTM) to take a stand for every conversation that can and should matter AND, that by having meaningful conversations, we leave the other person in a better place. I also named it The Conversations That Matter as a reminder that what we say, is often a reflection of what we believe. And, we, at TCTM, believe that what we teach participants in our workshops has a profound impact on the way they can show up to their coworkers and to their family. 

As with any human, I am far from perfect and have certainly done my fair share of participating in or stating my opinions. Maybe that’s why I was so caught off guard and reminded by the negativity and emotion that always threw me off – to be in the exchange with coworkers only hoping things would be different. 

While my husband left irritated, I left feeling very sad. Sad for those who were talked about and sad for the people who didn’t want to participate in the conversation but were stuck. And sad for the 90 minutes that they could’ve been talking about something productive, meaningful and inspiring. 

My hope is that we all take a pause and reflect on how we want to be known coming out of those dinners, lunches or times on the road. We each have the power to own the space, the narrative and to use our energy for good.   

May this be the prompting you need to show up and take a stand for what is being said.  

Consider how you can: 

  1. Own your part of the situation – be thoughtful about what you’re willing to do and say, and what you’re unwilling to do and say. 
  2. Listen to understand what’s really being felt. Usually there’s an underlying cause of what is not being met or a void for that person.
  3. Take a stand for how you and your coworkers can be better. It takes just ONE person who can turn the conversation from negative to positive and to be known as someone whose energy is meant for good. 

Is your team broken? Is your team fractured and you tolerate poor behavior, gossip and passive aggressiveness? 

If you believe you can be better and want to learn to rise up and be the strong one that shifts the conversation, allowing people to be known, seen and heard for who they are and who they can become, let’s talk. We’ve been helping teams break down barriers and see each other for who they are for decades.  

Every adult started out as a child. Pay attention to what you are saying to and around our next generation of employees in the workplace. Their success hinges on what you are teaching them right now.