#204: How to Have Hard Conversations with L3 Leadership Founder, Doug Smith

By September 4, 2018Podcast

In the interview, you’ll hear L3 Leadership Founder, Doug Smith, share on the subject, “How to Have Hard Conversations.” To view a transcription of this lesson, go here! 

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How to Have Hard Conversations with Doug Smith on the L3 Leadership Podcast

How to Have Hard Conversations with Doug Smith on the L3 Leadership Podcast


Doug is the Director of Development at Light of Life Rescue Mission, a non-profit that helps the homeless, in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the Founder of L3 Leadership, a company that connects and develops leaders through training, events, mastermind groups, and membership. He is also the host of the L3 Leadership podcast, where he has interviewed world-class leaders such as Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Liz Wiseman, Mike Tomlin, and many others. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Laura. Together, they love family, personal growth, travel, working out, and serving others.





  • If you want to be successful in your career, in leadership, in your marriage, in your family, and in your relationships, then you MUST learn how to have hard conversations.
  • Leaders, you have to model this, if you don’t, you’ll be surrounded by people with nothing to say and you’ll think everything is fine when it isn’t!
  • Ground Rules for Hard Conversation:
  • Matthew 18:15-17 – We go to the person if we can’t resolve, we bring in a 3rd party… rarely will it go beyond that!
  • We have honest, hard, and awkward conversations
  • We don’t let things linger – We leave it all out on the table! It’s your job! 
      • When we are debating an issue, loyalty means giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I’ll like it or not. Disagreement at this stage stimulates me. But once a decision has been made, the debate ends. From that point on, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own! -Colin Powell
  • We believe the best about each other
  • We know that we all communicate differently and we respond accordingly
  • We do not gossip about others or the organizations! We have direct conversations and direct others to do the same!
  • We all have the same goals and Mission
  • We are one team
  • We love each other
  • We all love God are growing in our Walk with Him
  • Seven Steps of Having a Hard Conversation
  • 1.) Recognize the need to have hard conversations!
    • If you find yourself consistently complaining about others… you need to have a hard conversation
  • 2.) Determine how many hard conversations you’ve been putting off that you need to confront
  • 3.) Plan for the hard conversation
    • How does the other person communicate? Are they direct and think and speak quickly? Will they need time to process?
  • 4.) Write out the hard conversation in a journal.
    • What is the context of the situation? What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What do you want for yourself? What do you want for the other person? What do you want for the organization? What is your proposed plan for a solution?
  • 5.) Pull off the band-aid and schedule the hard conversation
  • 6.) Have the hard conversation
    • Tell the person upfront that this may be difficult for you… share the ground rules! Ask them to listen to you all the way through before speaking. Ask them to repeat what you said so it’s clear you’re both on the same page. Ask them to respond.  Repeat what you heard and continue the conversation. Don’t stop until you both feel like you’re on the same page with a plan on how to move forward.
  • 7.) Once resolved, move on. Stop gossiping and refuse to allow others to gossip to you, teach them how to have hard conversations.

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