They might be necessary because a conflict has arisen, as a manager you need to deliver some negative feedback, or you might have to raise something tricky with your boss.
Whatever the reason, they are not fun. But the consequences of avoiding them may be even worse. Putting them off is not the answer. If you don't have the difficult discussions - the risk is that the problem/situation will get even worse.
It can take courage to initiate a tough conversation, but if you make sure you have the facts and approach it in a business-like and respectful manner, the potential benefits of a resolution can outweigh the initial discomfort.
To make it easier:
Set up the conversation in advance
Send a short email requesting some time to discuss the business issue. The less time you ask for the more likely you are to get,
or even better,
Take a deep breath, pick up the phone and ask for the time. Practise what you are going to say beforehand if you are really nervous.
Often time - just being prepared to have the conversation will win you kudos from the other person.
Pick the most appropriate venue
Different locations are appropriate depending on your relationship with the person and the nature of the conversation you need to have.
If it is someone senior, and very busy, his or her office is likely to be the best place. If it's a peer or a staff member, find a meeting room where you can have the discussion in private. If it's someone you have an existing relationship with, offering to buy them a coffee and stepping out of the office might take the heat out of the situation and provide a relaxed 'neutral' environment.
Once you're talking,
Approach the conversation from the other person's point of view.
Ask questions to understand their perspective and understanding of the situation. In these circumstances, Steven Covey's "Seek first to understand, then to be understood" habit from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a good approach to adopt!
Once you are talking you're on the pathway to resolve an issue. It might not be the whole answer as many situations are genuinely difficult. But it's a start.
Do you have any other ideas you've tried? Let's chat...
Posted by Karen Adamedes at 06:51