3 Way’s Handle Difficult Conversations

3 Way’s Handle Difficult Conversations 266 246 Leland

Today is the day to finally have that conversation you’ve been dreading to start with your boss, peer or direct report. Stop beating around the bush, or soon it will be a tumbleweed of regrets if you don’t take the time to talk about the challenges you face. Drop the stick, formulate your thoughts, and have that conversation.

You are not alone in the struggle with diving into difficult conversations. It’s time to stop putting off these conversations and lean in. Next time you are faced with a difficult conversation, approach it with a sense of curiosity and respect. Focus on listening to what other person  has to say, and be direct about your intentions. Keeping a positive mindset can help shape the outcome, even in difficult conversations.

Be Direct, Stop Putting it Off!

Don’t wait for the perfect moment; if you cannot find the time to have the conversation now, schedule time in the immediate future. Preferably within a day or two. Once you begin the conversation, don’t shy away from what needs to be said. Let it be known, say it with confidence and sincerity. 

If you’re dealing with a recurring issue , don’t wait for it to happen again. Now is the time to address and always document, so if it happens again you’re able to show it’s not the first time. This step is vital, primarily when others’ actions are affecting your ability to do your job.

When addressing problems head-on, come from a place of curiosity and respect, especially when addressing it in front of others. Keep in mind a rule of praise in public and reprimand in private.  The last thing you want is to have a peer(or boss) feel publicly shamed ; this will only cause them to be defensive  and possibly hostile. To alleviate that possibility, you must come from a place of curiosity and respect.

Beginning with Curiosity and Respect.

Enter your discussion with curiosity and respect, don’t worry about being liked. Far too often, we are worried about being liked by others which prohibits us from saying what we need to express. Let’s be honest; there’s no way everyone will like everyone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t respect one another.

If you give respect and respect is not reciprocated, don’t lose your composure. Take a step away from the conversation, give the person time to consider their actions, and think about alternative ways to handle the situation. 

This last part is easier said than done, and that’s to be empathetic and view things from their perspective. It is important  to understand  your emotions and consider the situation from a different angle. The best way to shift  your perspective is to focus on listening to  what the person has to say.

Focus On Listening 

Have you ever been in a conversation where the other person is not engaged in what you are saying, but instead focuses on what they have to say once you stop speaking? Just waiting for their moment to interject  because they weren’t actively listening; don’t be that person. Fun Fact, the number one question asked by children around the world is ‘why?’. Be like a child in this sense, drop the need to look like you know everything and show your childlike curiosity.

When engaged in conversation, listen until something you either don’t understand or resonates with you. Once you’ve heard that, build upon it by asking questions, or rephrasing to show your seeking understanding and have an interest. When people are listened to and feel heard, they are more receptive to hearing other points of view on the matter.

In conclusion

Lastly, difficult conversations are hard to have. We don’t like to do them and the other person doesn’t want to be there. Remember, be direct and stop putting it off. The easiest way to make sure you have the discussion is to schedule it, so there’s no avoiding it. Come with a sense of curiosity and most of all with respect. Keep these things in mind the next time you are faced with a difficult conversation and desire to have a positive outcome.