Common Mistakes Leaders Make When Handling Tough Conversations at Work

tough conversations

Tough situations at work usually end in tense verbal confrontations. As a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that everyone calms down before things get worse. This could even lead to physical altercation if not dealt with accordingly.

Unfortunately, leaders who were not prepared to take the challenge are also involved in the fight. You should not be this type of leader. Your role is to diffuse the tension and not add to it. Aside from being emotionally involved in the fight, here are some other mistakes you should avoid when the situation gets tough.

Letting things continue

You might think that the people fighting over something are too petty. You know that this will just pass and everything will be fine soon. Before you get too confident about it, you have to understand that no matter how big or small the problem is, people can make a big deal out of it. Not everyone is emotionally mature to process what happened and try to solve it. You should be the big person in the room who will try to make sense of the situation.

Forcing conversations while emotions are high

Forcing conversations

Whether you are personally involved in the fight or not, it is important to not let two parties speak when emotions are still high. This will just lead to more chaos. You want everyone to just calm down first before you process the problem. Give the people involved time to think about what happened. Perhaps, during their moment of silence, they will realize what they have done. Once they are up for a conversation, the discussion becomes more mature.

Taking sides

Since you are the middle person in this situation, you have to stop being biased towards one party. This does not help in any way. You should just be in the middle trying to ask questions and making everyone realize their mistakes. Bring out facts during the conversation and don’t let anyone distort the facts. You may also point out a party trying to mislead the conversation by bringing up something which is irrelevant or helps if you also do your share of interrogation among witnesses prior to this conversation so you can properly facilitate the discussion.

Being too compassionate

It helps a lot if you are an empathetic leader. You try your best to make sure that you understand all sides. The problem with this is that when you are too compassionate, you might be easily persuaded by a certain action. When one employee starts to cry, you will start siding with that person even if in many other respects, the arguments presented were not valid. Take these emotions out of the conversation and try to be more objective.

Not admitting mistake  

The problem might have been between two employees, but you could be a factor on why they are fighting. Hence, you also have to admit that you have done something wrong. It could be the way you have divided the tasks among them or the impossible deadline that you have set. During this conversation, admit your mistakes and try to apologize as well.

Tensions are common among employees. The way it is managed depends on the leader of the team.

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