How To Have A Difficult Conversation With Your Employee?

Many times we need to have a difficult conversation with the workforce to improve work environment and operations. The consequences of having an uncomfortable conversation become costly if not handled out appropriately.

Therefore, it’s crucial for CEO or upper hierarchy members to build a strong skills, empathy, and courage in order to handle a difficult conversation effectively. The more you will strengthen your skills the better you will deal your employees related issues.

Keep on reading the content shared below to effectively have a difficult conversation with your employee.

  • Set a Time Limit

Normally, we think to engage in a conversation until the both parties can resolve the issue. Unfortunately, some conversations lead to wrong track with the passage of time.

Therefore, to prevent this from happening, it is a good idea to set a time limit for the conversation before you kick it off.

Although time limit depends on the matter and the situation, consuming an hour is enough for any sort of conversation.

If you think that there’s still more to say after an hour then you should continue it after a short break or another day.

  • Be Clear About the Issue

Before engaging in any uncomfortable conversation, make yourself well aware of the on-going issue. For instance, you can ask yourself some questions: “What is the problem that is causing the problem?” and “How negatively it can impact the performance of your workforce?”

By figuring out the answers to these questions, you will get a clear idea about the issue. Otherwise, you risk going off on a wrong track during the conversation.

So, focus on the central issue to effectively carry out the conversation with your workforce.

  • Know Your Objective

This is another important step that should be well-defined to accomplish the conversation effectively. Manage your time and learn about the desired outcome that you will achieve by having a difficult conversation.

A successful conversation doesn’t just overcome your employee’s problem but also enhance your employee’s performance.

Hence, learn about every goal that you want to achieve by the end of the conversation. Once you have a clear idea about your objectives then take any further action.

Moreover, you can also make an action plan to truly overcome potential obstacles by the end of your conversation.

  • Set a Mindset

Consume a little time to make your mind to carry out a difficult conversation with your employee. Your mindset will support you to give proper responses.

Just like a good doctor diagnoses the situation before writing a prescription, you will need to make mindset about the issue before taking any action.

Furthermore, you can also collect evidence to build a clear mindset. A good leader always talks with solid evidence. Therefore, if you want to deal in any tough conversation effectively then you should adopt this approach.

  • Calm Yourself

Manage your emotions and keep yourself calm. In order word you will let your emotions left at the door while entering the meeting room to engage in a tough conversation.

If you enter into the conversation in a high temper or emotional state, then chances are high that things will go in the wrong direction.

As it is the responsibility of an employer to understand and manage the emotions in the tough situations, try to set aside your emotions and keep calm. This way you will easily focus on the circumstance at hand.

  • Be Comfortable With a Positive Attitude

Keep in mind your negative attitude will never help you out to fix anything at the workplace. It is better to kick off the conversation with a positive attitude to enhance the chances of the success.

From a recent survey-based statistics, it is revealed that people who think the conversation will be tough and will end poorly, it probably will.

On the other hand, the report also revealed that people, who believe in positivity, get the positive outcome. No matter how tough is the matter you could easily overcome it with a positive attitude.

  • Accept Periods of Silence

There will be moments in the conversation where you will need to accept the periods of silence. Instead of pushing yourself to fill the period of silence with something useless, take it as an opportunity to strengthen your arguments.

Believe it or not, the period of silence will enable you to connect in a more effective manner for the better outcome. It also helps both sides to calm down and think about the positions of each other.

  • Be Prepared For Compromise

Don’t expect to get negative outcome only at the end of your conversation. Be prepared to make a deal at the final phase of your conversation.

Take a short break and think about the predefined goals that you have to achieve by the end of the conversation.

If you think that you can achieve your desired goals by compromising on something then you should negotiate with the employee.

Make sure that the compromise doesn’t negatively affect your position. Instead, come up with a solution that will provide benefit to both sides.

  • Avoid Bridge Burning

In case you cannot arrive at a solution that satisfies you, you should control your emotions and avoid conversation that will negatively impact on the workplace environment.

Think twice before you make any statement that will create a permanent wall between you and the other person. Instead, think of ways to deal with the problem with a less damage.

  • Follow Through

If you arrive at a resolution, make sure to follow through with the new agreement you made with your employee. By fulfilling your promises, you can have the same from the other side.

In addition, try to arrange a follow-up conversation after some time to figure out how things have been working out.


Written by: Jessica Barden is the writer of this post. Apart from being a blogging expert, she also serves in the role of Chief Editor at an essay writing service. She loves to contribute her knowledge to students and learners through her blogs.

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Featured Columnists at the CEOWORLD Magazine is a team of experts led by Camilla O'Donnell, James Reed, Amarendra Bhushan, and Amanda Millar. The CEOWORLD Magazine is the worlds leading business and technology magazine for CEOs (chief executives) and top-level management professionals.
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