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People Strategy with Melissa: Having Difficult Conversations

No one likes to initiate a difficult conversation… but a key aspect of leadership is managing these conversations in a way that avoids conflict, and resolves the issue at hand. As a trainer with expertise in communication, emotional intelligence, and talent development, Melissa has a few steps you can use to map out a ‘difficult conversation’ plan, so that the conversation wraps up with a constructive, positive outcome.

Our consultants are sharing People Strategy tips that are designed to help you Grow Leaders, Build Teams, and Drive Results at your organization. Today Melissa Thompson is diving into how to Have Difficult Conversations.

Step 1: Prepare the Stage

Difficult conversations rarely go well when you don’t really understand the people, and issues, involved. A huge part of leadership is spending time relationship building, cultivating strong stakeholder partnerships, and building your ability to influence others. With this foundation in place, your interpersonal leadership will flourish… even when difficult conversations are necessary.

Step 2: Open the Conversation by Stating a Commitment

When the time comes to have a conversation, lead with the commitment you are making to understand your conversational partner, and produce a positive outcome together.

Step 3: Focus on the Issue

Don’t stray from your commitment by allowing the conversation to get personal. This isn’t about individual team members, it’s about the ISSUE. Focus on what’s actually at stake.

Step 4: Listen to the Other Person

Listening more than you talk is a good rule for when conversations are sensitive, or might get heated.

Step 5: Agree on a Path Forward

The closer is everything. Don’t end the conversation without an agreed-upon set of steps for achieving a positive conclusion to the issue(s).

Conflict or stressful situations will arise within your team… and these issues don’t get resolved unless you talk about them. That’s why Having Difficult Conversations is such an important skill for a leader. Our consultants are happy to help you navigate these moments with your people. Contact Melissa today to talk more about having difficult conversations, leadership and organizational development, and people strategy!

Success Labs is a leadership development and management consulting firm in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For more than 25 years, our expert team of consultants has worked with hundreds of companies to grow leaders, build teams and drive results through great people strategy. Contact us to get proactive about expanding your company’s potential, and stay up-to-date with our latest news and leadership development updates here.


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