Engage in the difficult conversation
Leaders can engage in a difficult conversation if they are prepared. Some points to keep in mind for this are-
- Keep the conversation professional by focusing on behaviour and facts.
- Be specific and clear. Use examples.
- Speak in a calm manner.
- Use ‘I’ statements, for example ‘I sense that...’, ‘I feel that...’
- Acknowledge the other person's feelings and view of the situation.
- Actively listen to the other person without judging.
- Ensure you understand what the other person has said. Repeat back what the other person has said and check with them if you have heard it correctly.
- Accept some responsibility if appropriate: for example, ‘Maybe I didn’t make my expectations clear at the beginning, I apologise.’
- Come up with a solution together. If the other person doesn’t have solutions, propose a solution and ask for their thoughts. Offer support
- Clarify the takeaway message
- If appropriate and needed, agree on a review date to follow up. Consider if is it appropriate to formalise next steps, goals, commitments, and timeframes?