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Dealing with difficult conversations at work

We all have them. Those tough conversations with co-workers that we dread having. Maybe it’s a situation where someone’s not pulling their weight, or there’s been a misunderstanding that needs to be hashed out. Whatever the case may be, difficult conversations at work are inevitable. And while they may not be pleasant, there are ways to make them less painful and more productive.

Here are some tips on how to deal with difficult conversations at work:

1. Don’t go in blind

If you’re dreading a conversation, chances are you’re not looking forward to it because you don’t know what to expect. You may be worried about saying the wrong thing, or not being able to find the right words. To help ease your anxiety, it can be helpful to take some time to prepare for the conversation. Make a list of the points you want to discuss and rehearse what you’re going to say. This way, you’ll feel more confident and in control when it’s time to talk.

2. Be professional

Even if you’re feeling upset, it’s important to remain professional. This means keeping your emotions in check and avoiding any personal attacks. If things start to get heated, take a step back and take a few deep breaths. It’s also ok to politely excuse yourself for a moment to cool down, if necessary. 

3. Avoid “You” statements

When you are having a difficult conversation, it’s important to avoid using “you” statements. For example, instead of saying “You’re not doing your fair share of the work,” try “I feel like the workload is uneven.”

“You” statements tend to come across as accusatory and can make the other person defensive. When you use Emotional Intelligence, you will move from using “you” to using “I”. By using “I” statements, you’re more likely to keep the conversation calm and productive.

4. Be willing to compromise

In any difficult conversation, it’s important to be willing to compromise. This doesn’t mean that you have to give in to the other person’s demands but be open to finding a solution that works for both of you. If you’re not able to see eye-to-eye, it may be helpful to bring in a neutral third party, like a manager or HR representative, to help facilitate the conversation. 

5. Follow up 

Once the conversation is over, it’s important to follow up. This means checking in with the other person to see how they’re doing, and to see if the issue has been resolved. If you’re still not seeing eye-to-eye, it may be necessary to have another conversation. But by following up, you’re showing that you’re invested in resolving the issue and finding a solution that works for everyone. 

Difficult conversations are never easy, but by following these tips, you can make them a little less painful. 

6. End on a positive note

Ending a difficult conversation on a positive note can be challenging. But, it’s important to try to find a way to do so. Thank the other person for their time and for being honest with you. Let them know you’re committed to resolving the issue and that you’re open to their suggestions. By ending on a positive note, you can leave the door open for future communication and find a way to resolve the issue.

Book us to take a delivering difficult conversations at work training course! TrainEQ understands the importance of training courses on having difficult conversations. This courageous conversations course will teach the skills necessary to handle tough conversations with employees or project team members, no matter how challenging they may be. Contact us today to find out more about how it can help you andyour employees!



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