How to Have Difficult Conversations in the Workplace

In every business, issues arise that involve having a difficult conversation with a coworker. Whether it’s letting them know that a deadline wasn’t met, discussing negative performance, or working out personal conflicts, these conversations will come up. Here are the Do’s and Don’ts from Rebecca Knight, who writes for the Harvard Business Review.

Do:

  • Speech bubbleSlow down the pace of the conversation — it helps you find the right words and it signals to your counterpart that you’re listening
  • Find ways to be constructive by suggesting other solutions or alternatives
  • Reflect on the conversation you just had and learn from it

Don’t:

  • Label the news you need to deliver as a “difficult conversation” in your mind; instead frame the discussion in a positive or neutral light
  • Bother writing a script for how you want the discussion to go; jot down notes if it helps, but be open and flexible
  • Ignore the other person’s point of view — ask your counterpart how he or she sees the problem and then look for overlaps between your perspectives

Difficult conversations can be just that, difficult, but learning how to properly have them can result in better outcomes, and help to retain good relationships with coworkers.

For more tips on handling conflict to make sure a small problem doesn’t become a large one, click here.

To learn more about career opportunities at Society Insurance, click here.

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