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Blog - 3 steps to starting a difficult conversation

3 steps to starting a difficult conversation

Posted by Stella Chandler 08/10/15



All managers will have uncomfortable situations to deal with at some point in their careers. Whether it is dealing with inappropriate behaviour, underperformance or conflict at work, these “difficult conversations” are never easy.

And one of the most difficult aspects is simply how to begin.

These 3 steps will help 

  1. Prepare - ask yourself “what would a successful outcome to this conversation be?”
  2. Get your own mindset right – be curious, not blaming
  3. Position it as a discussion – encourage the other person’s perspective and thoughts

Not knowing how someone will respond is part of what makes these conversations difficult. But by opening the conversation in a way which is supportive and exploratory, rather than combative and finger pointing, you will have much more chance of moving things forward in a positive way.

For more support in dealing with difficult or inappropriate behaviour at work or guidance for holding difficult conversations call us on 01903 732 782 or email us for a confidential chat.

Stella Chandler
Stella Chandler

I thrive on seeing people do things they didn’t think they could do! I draw on my management and leadership experience from working in senior positions in the Metropolitan Police Service, running Focal Point since 2002 and working across all three sectors in the widest variety of environments. Because we rarely learn things first time, we believe it is vital to provide support before, during and after the events we run, in order to get the best from them. Time and time again people have told us how the chance to review their learning and to have their actions reinforced has really helped cement new ways of doing things. This is what has then made the difference that they and we are looking for. I am a fellow of the CIPD and when I am not working with clients I can be seen on the golf courses of Hampshire.

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