Handling uncomfortable conversations

Difficult conversations are a part of any business; knowing this doesn’t make them any easier to have.

The following tips will help you deal with these uncomfortable conversations in the most peaceful way possible.

Objective
Remaining objective when having these conversations and thinking about the outcome you want to arrive at rather than getting caught up in emotions is vital. If you get agitated or make it personal, you are likely to put the other person offside and cause them to become defensive. Focus on clearly explaining what you feel the issue is and then be open to how you can move forward from this. Ensure you allow the other person ample opportunity to explain their side and have their voice heard.

Empathy
When delivering uncomfortable news, it is important to remain empathetic. When people receive news that isn’t positive, the way they react can greatly tarnish their attitude towards you, towards the business and towards their job, whether they are in the right or wrong; that’s human nature. People can easily feel attacked because everyone tends to look at situations from their own perspective. By having this in mind, and being empathetic and kind towards the individual, even if you feel they have really stuffed up, you are more likely to receive a positive reaction, which heightens the likelihood of them taking responsibility over rectifying the issue.

In addition, most people don’t mean to make mistakes or do the wrong thing, so coming down on them in a harsh matter is only going to discourage them from trying their best in the future. It will make them less likely to approach you for future guidance should they need it.

Silver lining
Any difficult conversation should end on a positive note. You should aim to discuss strategies for improvement or implement goals to rectify whatever the issue may be. Showing your team that even in times of adversity you can look to the future optimistically is a great example to set.

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