Being honest and open at work can be challenging – but difficult conversations sometimes need to be had. Employees who are creating a poor working environment or not performing need to be managed effectively.
How can you be more confident in how you approach your interactions and engage in more courageous conversations in the workplace? We explore the best strategies you can use.
Get To The Point
When having a difficult conversation with a team member, it is easy to try and “soften the blow” by speaking generally before addressing the issue at hand. However, this can leave them feeling confused and unclear on what it is that they are doing or not doing versus your expectation. Begin by explaining what the conversation will be about and why, and then getting straight to your key point(s). Using broad terms and generalisations won’t help a team member understand exactly what is being said, and what needs to be addressed in their performance or behaviour.
Consider Your Language
Language can make a big difference in how a conversation proceeds – and this is true both verbally and when it comes to body language, as well as your overall tone. Even as a team leader or manager, you may feel unsure when talking to certain employees, but it is vital to project an air of calm and confidence. Make eye contact and keep your voice steady and sure – without resorting to negative, shaming language. Using words like “bad” or “wrong” can lead to an employee automatically arguing back rather than absorbing your intention to help them grow.
Guide The Conversation
If an employee is defensive, deflecting, or hurt, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Instead of letting the conversation become a heated argument, pause and take a moment to help them reflect on their views. Ask questions using their own words to help bring the conversation back to the discussion points you have in mind rather than letting them lead you. Their views are important, especially in coming up with a plan for managing them more effectively, but you are guiding them – not the other way around. Allowing a strong-minded employee to place blame elsewhere (even when this may be contributing to their behaviour) isn’t productive, and can result in further leadership challenges in the future.
Get In Touch
Using these steps, you can embrace those courageous conversations with poise and authority, propelling you towards more favourable (or at least clearer) outcomes. If you wish to focus more on behavioural development in the workplace, then get in touch with PDW Group. We offer a range of training and coaching options to help leaders to succeed.
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