The Tunnel of Chaos

“When you did that, it really hurt me. I’ve been mad at you ever since.” That sentence is the culmination of a conversation a friend had with me a while back. It was over breakfast – one that he initiated. I was totally floored. I had no idea that I had said something that hurt my friend. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t even know he was mad at me.

That conversation marked an important point in our friendship. I could have chosen to make a joke and take the event lightly. I could have gotten defensive and attacked my friend – pointing out that it was really his fault, not mine. I could have gotten mad back at him. OR, I could have spent time understanding what happened, acknowledging my mistake, and working towards building a deeper understanding about how I could ensure I don’t hurt my friend again.

To his credit, my friend took the first, more difficult step. He chose to talk to me about it. I am so thankful for that. I know many would have just pushed it under the rug, leaving a big bulge, and spent weeks, months, or even years walking over it every day.

The Tunnel of Chaos is that tunnel that leads from artificial to authentic relationships. It is a key to building trust with your family, friends, and coworkers. It is a critical component to your leadership team’s success and health. It is a foundational element of fostering and keeping a culture of trust.

You enter the tunnel when you choose to engage in crucial confrontations with a solid commitment to hold steady until you’ve reached a positive resolution and a deeper friendship.

Bill Hybels coined this phrase in his book, Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs – a book I highly recommend. You can read this very short excerpt from the book from the Willow Creek Global Summit website right here.

When was the last time you entered the tunnel with an individual or your team?

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