3 Tips for Having Difficult Workplace Conversations

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The conversation you MOST avoid will eventually become the bigger problem that keeps you up at night. After returning from our most recent Native American Human Resources conferences last month, I was so inspired at how dedicated so many HR Professionals are to developing solid communication skills and processes for their employees.

One of the biggest misconceptions about having difficult conversations is that we have no control over how they go. Well it’s only half right! We certainly have no control over how another person acts, but we have ALL the control over our own behavior which CAN impact how another person reacts to us.

Difficult Conversations may be part of:

  • Managing Conflict
  • Managing Performance
  • Giving unfortunate news to an employee or supervisor
  • Offering feedback

Whether you are an executive, middle manager or valued team member, chances are if you are working with humans, difficult conversations will be had. Here are three tips to have them better:

  1. If you can, plan for them. We know that not every difficult conversation can be planned for, but for every one that can be, preparation can be incredibly helpful. Some of us like to wing it and that is where we get ourselves into the most trouble. Just taking 5-10 minutes to jot down what you want to make sure you SAY and ASK can make all of the difference.
  2. Separate the person from the issue. What makes a difficult conversation become MORE difficult is when we resort to personal attacks that are not part of the actual issue. STICK to the FACTS. Yes, we are in an age where facts are pretty hard to come by, but do your best. This can also be build into the preparation. Remember, when you deal with the issue and a person feels safe, you create an environment of trust.
  3. Train staff on interpersonal communication skills. We study so many things in school but rarely HOW TO COMMUNICATE! Expecting people to just know interpersonal skills without any training is  a stretch. Sure, yes they should have them, but most people struggle with communication. We have more ways to communicate than ever before, and still it’s hard to just talk to people. Give people the support they need to create a better work atmosphere.

But what do you do now? We are committed to providing cost-friendly training and resources to you for transforming your tribe or organization to be a constant reflection of your mission and values.

Your time is valuable and the next difficult conversation could be just around the corner. Check out our Virtual On Demand Course: Having Difficult Conversations. For a small registrations fee you’ll receive:

  • A face-to-face 45-minute recorded training you can view from anywhere!
  • Our slide deck filled with tips and strategies for conducting difficult conversations.
  • A BONUS Difficult Conversation Skill Assessment & Planning Guide. 

Start your training now, and register here!

What people are saying….

“Stephanie Licata is great asset to the NNE team. She has a great presence and always presents in a manner that attracts and retains your attention. Stephanie provides solutions to HR issues that HR professionals may have never thought of. I enjoyed the information she provided, it was extremely useful.” – Katherine Portillo, Human Resources Manager/Compliance Officer – Tule River Indian Health Center.

“Stephanie Licata ‘s trainings are motivating and inspirational. She keeps  you wanting more.” – Bridget Galusha, Human Resources Manager – Tulalip Tribes

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