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5 Secrets to Having Difficult Conversations Without Difficulty

 

Tough conversations are just…tough. Who wants to tell an employee that they are unqualified for the promotion? Or, that they’re not getting the corner office? Or, that yes, they have to work over the holiday.

Research by CPP Inc., publishers of the Myers-Briggs Assessment and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, showed that U.S. employees spent 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict. Which amounts to approximately $359 billion in paid hours the equivalent of 385 million working days. That amount of money wasted on avoiding conflict means it’s worth every penny to invest in harmony at work; conflict is costing you thousands!

While there are many ingredients integral for engaging in actually having the conversation, preparation is essential. The time and effort you put in the front end gives you a higher degree of success on the back end.

Before engaging in a discussion, ask yourself these questions (writing the answers are even better):

  1. Aware – What feelings am I aware of?
  2. Accurate – What is the truth?  Is it accurate or just your own personal interpretation of the situation?
  3. Acquire – What learning are you meant to acquire from being in this situation?
  4. Accountability – What is your part in the situation?  How can you take responsibility?
  5. Action – What proactive action can you take?

Preparation is your secret sauce. Allows time to marinate ideas and engage with greater ease. Make sure you set a deadline so the issues don’t go on forever.

And most importantly, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would they appreciate being heard in this situation? When engaging, the more you can set your mind in a place to be curious and listen, the greater the chances you both will come to a more positive outcome.

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