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The Elephant in the Room

Oftentimes, when faced with a big uncomfortable issue at work, we are tempted to ignore it. There is an elephant in the room and it feels awkward to acknowledge it.

My advice is to call everyone’s attention to it.

Here’s the thing about the elephant in the room: Everyone can see it. Ignoring it won’t make it go away; in fact, it will make it bigger.

The elephant might be the tension you’re feeling in a company meeting. Instead of ignoring it, say, “This feels really tough right now, doesn’t it? Why don’t we take a moment to pause and catch our breath?”

Watch your acknowledgment cut through the tension, allowing everyone a collective sigh of relief.

The elephant might be the unaddressed fear you’re feeling in yourself as you contemplate a particular decision. Address that elephant head on by writing your fears down.

Acknowledging your fear most often will render it harmless.

The elephant might be that your audience in a presentation is much more senior than you. Address and acknowledge that fact with a sense of humor and watch your audience smile and drop their defensiveness.

The next time you spot an elephant, don’t ignore it.

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