Having difficult conversations in the workplace can be a daunting task for both employees and managers. To make these conversations less intimidating, it is essential to have the right training and knowledge. To this end, we asked 13 members of the Forbes Coaching Council to share their best practices for managing difficult conversations in the workplace. The first step is to plan ahead, but not to the point of writing a script.
Taking notes and jotting down key points can be beneficial, but having a full-fledged screenplay is unnecessary. Instead, it is important to have a flexible strategy with a repertoire of possible answers. The language used should be simple, clear, direct, and neutral. For instance, if an employee is consistently late for work, it is important to have a fact-based corrective conversation that refers to time records and policies. It is also essential to find out if the employee needs help and to seek an agreement that is satisfactory for both parties.
Avoid using emotionally charged language such as “I'm disappointed” or “I'm sorry” as this can add bias to the conversation. By following these best practices, employees and managers can have more effective conversations that lead to better solutions. With the right training and knowledge, difficult conversations in the workplace can become less intimidating. To ensure successful outcomes from difficult conversations in the workplace, it is important to be prepared. Before engaging in any conversation, take time to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Consider what kind of outcome you are looking for and how you can best achieve it.
Additionally, practice active listening skills by allowing the other person to speak without interruption and by repeating back what they said in your own words. It is also important to remain calm and professional during difficult conversations. Avoid getting emotional or defensive as this can lead to further misunderstandings. Instead, focus on finding a solution that works for both parties. Finally, be sure to follow up after the conversation has ended.
This will help ensure that everyone involved understands what was discussed and agreed upon. By following these best practices, employees and managers can have more effective conversations that lead to better solutions. With the right training and knowledge, difficult conversations in the workplace can become less intimidating.