Handling Difficult Conversations at the Workplace

difficult conversations

You might face difficult conversations at work. It might be because you are about to fire someone from the job. It could also be because you felt bad during a previous conversation and you want to clarify the issue. Facing this situation is not easy, but you would rather have it now than wait later when it is too late and the problem has already grown out of proportion.

When speaking with someone and you know it is going to be a tense conversation, here are some things to remember.

Clarity of the issue

Go straight to the issue. Don’t sugarcoat your words. Avoid beating the bush. Not only will it waste time, it also dilutes the whole point of the conversation. Lack of focus may also take you away from the central issue and even sabotage your entire plan.

Determine your goal

What exactly is the reason why you are having this conversation? Is it because you want to make peace with the person? Do you want to just put an end to the tension? Are you convincing that person to change for the better? Once you know what your plan is, you can steer the conversation towards the right path. You will also identify what could possibly hinder you from having a good discussion. You can even determine how long you are going to stay in one issue before moving on to the next.

Manage your emotions well

negative emotions during this conversation

You will most likely feel a lot of negative emotions during this conversation. You will feel angry about what happened. You will feel frustrated because you felt like you are not being heard. You even think that this whole thing is a sign of disrespect. Whatever it is that you feel, put it aside. The goal is to get through the problem and make things better. There is no point in throwing anger or hatred at this point since it won’t resolve anything.

Be prepared for silence

You might expect this conversation to be tense and rough. You think there will be screaming and yelling. You don’t expect to have moments of silence though. Therefore, you have to be fully prepared for this possibility. You might be speaking with someone who is not comfortable with any kind of intimate conversation. You will also be surprised that this person has nothing to defend himself with. Navigate around this response to ease the tension.

Resolve the conflict

The goal of facing this person and having this conversation is to resolve the conflict. Take some time to think about what happened, listen to the other person and even apologize if necessary. You might be too one-sided with how you think. You fail to recognize the point of the other party. Settle this issue once and for all. If not, there must be a better alternative and not just a shouting match.

Hopefully, things will be better between the two of you and you can survive this conversation.

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