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How should you prepare for this kind of discussion? How do you find the right words in the moment? And, how can you manage the exchange so that it goes as smoothly as possible? Perhaps your boss lashed out at you during a heated discussion; or your direct report started to cry during a performance review; maybe your client hung up the phone on you.
As a result, we tend to avoid them. This technique also works well in the moment. If, for example, a colleague comes to you with an issue that might lead to a hard conversation, excuse yourself —get a cup of coffee or take a brief stroll around the office — and collect your thoughts. Drafting a script, however, is a waste of time. And, what does the other person think is the problem? Be considerate; be compassionate. Make sure your actions reinforce your words, adds Weeks. Nobody wants problems. Case Study 1: Be clear, direct, and unemotional Tabatha Turman, the founder and CEO of Integrated Finance and ing Solutions, a financial firm with both government and private sector clients, knew she had a problem with a certain employee.
She and her team tried a of interventions — including having him work with a professional coach — but after six months, she needed to take action. Tabatha dreaded delivering the news. At the same time, everybody plays a position on the team and one weak link can bring it down. To steel herself for the conversation, Tabatha called on her 20 years of experience as an officer in the army.
You need to be strong for the people around you and take your feelings out of it. Her words were simple. Recently, for instance, she had to tell a successful, longtime employee that his position was being eliminated. Betty decided that the message would be best delivered not in one conversation, but in a series of multiple discussions over a couple of months. Before even broaching the subject with the employee, she reminded herself of her good intentions. Her first step was sitting down with the employee to ask how he thought things were going.
After he spoke, she offered her own perspective on the problem. He was initially defensive, but by the second time they spoke, he had come around and agreed there was a problem. By their final conversation, the employee had decided to leave the company. They had a great talk and even ended the conversation with a hug.
You have 1 free article s left this month. You are reading your last free article for this month. Subscribe for unlimited access. Difficult conversations. How to Handle Difficult Conversations at Work. Start by changing your mindset. on Difficult conversations or related topics Managing conflicts and Business communication. Rebecca Knight is currently a senior correspondent at Insider covering careers and the workplace. ly she was a freelance journalist and a lecturer at Wesleyan University. Partner Center.Work is slow just looking to chat
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