Having difficult conversations


14 March 2024

Having difficult conversations with team members seems to be a hot topic at the moment. Knowing when to have that conversation, how to tackle it and where to put the attention needs to be thought through.

The first role of having difficult conversations is to manage your own responses and state. Giving feedback when you are emotional charged is a definite no. We need to work through our own feelings and response first, because it might not be feedback valuable to the other person – it could just be your own interpretation.

In my work, I like to help leaders, managers and team members understand the difference between your own interpretation and feelings of a situation compared to something that is value to another. In teams, just like in families and relationships, there are so many conversations that are not being had. It is natural to want to avoid the conflict. This is mainly because we are terrified of upsetting each other, or not knowing how to bring it up and so we don’t. Or we do but very poorly and without a thought of the impact. The ripple effect of this can be damaging to a business.

My approach is to give tools and strategies to be able to have courageous conversations that land better and are actionable. We need to be able to safely explore what happened, what we think happened, the feelings that go with that and the what is next. Anyone else experience a fear of having difficult conversations? Have you been at the receiving end of poor feedback?

What difficult conversations are you avoiding?

What strategies do you use when you need to have one?

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