How to Handle Difficult Conversations at the Workplace
Having difficult conversations at the workplace can sometimes be awkward, but it isn’t a strange thing, after all, we have them with our loved ones when we are faced with some tough situations.
Difficult conversations at the workplace can be unpleasant, but they are inevitable. What do you do when a particular colleague keeps interrupting you during meetings, or how do you deal with the graphic designer’s bad habit of delivering designs at late hours?
It’s hard finding the right words to confront some dialogues at the workplace, but at some point, you would have to summon the courage to face the situation and have those crucial and tough conversations you’ve been avoiding.
Find some quick tips below to help you:
You shouldn’t think you are being brash when you are preparing to finally have that conversation with the colleague who interrupts you during meetings – you are only expressing yourself in a constructive manner, which is healthy for both parties. Being positive about the conversation ahead will help you stay calm enough to have the conversation in a normal way, just as you’d have any other conversation.
Plan the conversation
There’s a tendency to spill your thoughts in the heat of the moment, but, that approach wouldn’t be helpful. It could worsen the situation on the ground and cause more damages. Get a piece of paper and jot down some key points before the conversation. Think of what you want to say and how you want to say it; imagine how the other person will react and the possible questions that might arise from the conversation. This will help you express yourself in a direct, simple, and clear manner. The conversation would also be flexible and smooth.
Take a breather
No one regrets words spoken calmly, but words said hurriedly will turn back to haunt you later. Taking regular breaks and practicing mindful breathing during a tough conversation will help you stay on top of the situation. You will be able to stay focused on the matter at hand, collect your thoughts properly, won’t use harsh words, and not get flustered easily.
Consider the other side
Remember that it is a conversation – though it’s a difficult one – and that means you have to consider your counterpart’s perspective. Communication is a two-way street. You should not go into the conversation thinking it is your way or no other way. Most times, your counterpart might be oblivious to what the problem is. It will do you a lot of good to be interested in the other person’s point of view and calmly listen to their words. Ask for clarity too if you are confused about their viewpoints.
There’s no point in beating about the bush, get to the point quickly. Directly state your facts, and be specific and thorough about your feedback. Your counterpart already knows the conversation isn’t a random one, like the one you had about football or small chops the other day, so be honest and clarify what you’re on about. Don’t dance around the subject.
Take a lesson from it
Reflect on how you tackled the situation, were you calm or aggressive? Were your words brutal or critical? Did you observe how the other person reacted? What was your attitude when your counterpart expressed their viewpoints? Were you empathetic? Did you manage your emotions well? You might find yourself having another difficult conversation in the nearest future, as problem no dey finish, but lessons learned from this experience will help you navigate the next difficult conversation easily.
- Be positive about the conversation
- Plan ahead
- Take a breather
- Listen to your counterpart
- Ask for clarity
- Be direct and specific
Featured image: istockphoto