While we may enjoy drama from time to time, most people actually don’t like conflict. In fact, 80% of workers are putting off at least one conversation at work that they don’t want to have, with 10% of people avoiding the conversation for over 2 years.
But when you’re a manager, you can’t afford to put off difficult, but necessary conversations with your employees. In this guide, we’ll show you how to approach difficult conversations and give yourself the best chance of a good outcome.
Prepare for your conversation properly
Walking into a difficult conversation with an employee unprepared is probably the worst thing you can do.
You need to have a goal in mind before you sit down to have a chat – as well as the main points you’ll want to bring up. Not only will this allow you to feel more confident and composed, but it will also allow you to keep things on track.
According to the Fair Work Ombudsman
, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
- Why do you want to have the conversation?
- What’s important to you?
- What do you want to achieve?
- Is the outcome you’re looking for realistic?
Consider the situation from their side
While preparing for your conversation, there is one crucial thing you must do – think about where your employee is coming from. It’s always a good idea to take an empathetic approach, as this will allow you to meet your employee where they are at and work towards a solution together.
Choose the right place
Having your chat in front of everyone, or in the middle of the office where others may hear? Probably not the best bet.
You’ll want to choose a calm, quiet environment that will facilitate proper conversation and ensure both parties feel comfortable.
Chances are that employees may become upset or agitated, depending on the conversation. But according to Amy Gallo, workplace conflict expert, “once one person gets heated up, it’s easy to mirror that behavior and before you know it, you have two people swinging punches.”
Instead of becoming agitated, try to stay calm and stick to the facts. Leaders with a higher emotional intelligence are often able to better manage their own emotions and help defuse negative emotions in others.
And if things get too heated, don’t be afraid to walk away. It can be a good idea to allow both parties a bit of time and space to calm down.
Overall, improving your confidence and emotional intelligence can go a long way towards improving your capacity for difficult situations. That’s why at TrainEQ, we incorporate emotional intelligence training into our Difficult Conversations course, allowing leaders to address difficult situations early and assertively.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your leaders tackle difficult conversations with ease, feel free to reach out to our team. We’re always happy to have a chat!