Difficult situations are never easy to deal with. Some will need us to have a difficult conversation, which makes us feel uncomfortable. We may prefer to avoid the conversation, or the situation altogether.
What happens then? If we avoid it?
The situation often gets worse. We feel worse about the situation. Other people may be affected, and not feel great about whatever it is that’s going on.
At home we may find we’re taking our work frustrations out on our partner and family. They may get frustrated with us, and a spiral of uncomfortable and difficult conversations may happen. We may shout and get upset. We may not sleep as well as usual.
All because we’re not managing difficult conversations at work effectively.
How to approach difficult conversations
Whatever our approach is, the first thing to remember is:
- the conversation needs to happen
If we avoid having that conversation, the situation will get worse, and it’s likely that feelings will get out of control from the original situation that occured.
When managing difficult conversations, it’s important to remember to:
- listen to the words that are said
- listen to the words and actions not said out loud
- listen to your feelings
Listening is such a skill, that many people, including business owners, forget to use it. Allowing someone to talk whilst you simply listen, allows them to say what’s on their mind.
Having the conversation, to move things forward, is often more important than the words used. I’ve known people put off having the difficult conversation as they spent so long on trying to find the right words to use, that the situation was overtaken by other events, and everyone involved felt much worse.
It’s not always easy managing difficult conversations at work, but we must do it. It the issue is affecting your work place, it may also be having an impact on other staff, partners, and most definitely customers. If there’s an “air” about the workplace, it’s not always comfortable for others, and good work is unlikely to be happening. Your top quality customer service may also be affected if you’re not managing the situation as well as you could be.
At the end of the day, it’s your business & you’re responsible for all that goes on within it.
Managing difficult conversations at work – Workshop
The hardest part, in my experience, is starting the conversation. Once you’ve started, the people affected are happier that it’s being talked about.
That’s why our next Business Cheerleading Club workshop is all about How to Start that Difficult Conversation, with expert mediator and lawyer, Simona Frumen. Anyone can join this, by booking your place , (if you’re a member of the club, this is free for you & details will be sent later this week). The workshop will be recorded if you can’t join live, and you’re welcome to ask any questions, or share a situation you need help or advice with, in advance.
As a mediator I was leading their difficult conversations without shaming, humiliating or hurting the parties involved.When we resolved their issue, they were so grateful for the relief they felt.
Club members get the opportunity to share situations and get help from other business owners to work out the next steps, and get support when managing difficult conversations at work.
What’s your experience of managing difficult conversations at work? Le