Turn a Difficult Conversation into a Productive One

Good news conversations are easy. Your leadership really gets tested, however, in the difficult ones. There are many reasons why leaders need to have difficult conversations. It could be an employee’s poor work performance is impacting the bottom line. Or a conflict affecting the department may need to be addressed.

While there is not a silver bullet to these conversations, there are ways to make this exchange more productive to achieve the desired results.

Plan it Right

Preparing for the meeting is key. Planning the right time and location to ensure a private conversation will allow you to focus on delivering the right message. You will want to practice the conversation. Although you cannot predict what the other party will say, prepare various versions based on the route the conversation may take.

Prepare the Message

Here are some tips on preparing what to say:

  • Keep it focused and simple.
  • Use “I” instead of “You”.
  • Avoid tip toeing around the issue or sugar coating your words.
  • State what you hope this conversation will achieve.

After these difficult conversations, follow up with the person. Even if the situation is not resolved completely, the employee will benefit from being kept informed of their progress. Many difficult issues require more than one discussion.

Need help figuring out the right words to say? Make sure to contact us to get more insight on leadership conversations.

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