HANDLE DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS

Make it less difficult for both

There are some conversations we all dread; telling a valued colleague or team member that ruined a task, project or a meeting. Even the thought of such a discussion is so dispiriting; we are tempted to postpone or avoid it. And that doesn’t help anyone, least of all the organization.

How can you have an awkward conversation that is productive and a Win-Win for all involved and the organization? Here are five action tips, for you to do that.

Tip 1 – Script: Prepare for the conversation. Jot down possible points, from both sides. Visualise different ways the conversation may flow. Pick the more productive routes. Ask yourself how you can keep the interaction on productive paths.
Tip 2 – Be upfront: Share the bad news, early in the conversation. Be compassionate. Build trust with simple & plain language. Avoid sugar coating or beating around the bush.
Tip 3 – Don’t Blame: Don’t sit on a judgment. You are a manager, not an arbitrator. Your role is to ensure “mistakes are remedied, not repeated, and things are better, in the future.
Tip 4 – Give Airtime: Listen actively with your heart and ears. Ask questions such as “How are you feeling?.” Give the other side a chance to express their feelings. After that, both of you can get on to the productive question “what do we do next / in the future.”
Tip 5 – Bring Future into Play: We can’t change the past. But we can positively influence the future. Tell the other of your willingness to help/collaborate, whenever similar challenges come up in the future.

Remember. “There is only one thing worse than an awkward conversation. To avoid having one!.”

– By Ravi Santhanam for Zeus

Next: Present Confidently

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