Difficult conversations are stressful enough, so don’t spend time “preparing” for the encounter with worst-case scenario thinking. Instead, ready yourself for difficult conversations with the following in mind:
- Don’t try to read another person’s mind. If you think a co-worker is spreading rumors about you or you expect the worst when your boss asks for an impromptu meeting, you are likely letting your imagination get the better of you. Take a deep breath and relax.
- Don’t predict the future. Thinking about how co-workers may react during a conversation will only add to your anxiety. Keep an open mind and let the discussion unfold naturally.
- Lose the self-righteous attitude. Seeing an upcoming conversation as a burden won’t help the situation. Decide you are going to hear what the other person has to say.
Start conversations off on the right foot with these simple steps:
- Know your goals. Ask yourself “What is my purpose?” and “What do I hope to gain?” Do you want to clarify something, get your way or simply tell someone off?
- Prepare to hear another point of view. And accept that your viewpoint might be wrong.
- Understand the other person’s perspective. Everyone has an opinion, so go into a conversation realizing your own thoughts are based on your opinions—and biases.
- Keep your emotions in check. Never start a conversation off in a highly emotional state. Wait until you can compose yourself—even if you have to postpone the meeting for a few minutes. Then calmly and professionally begin the discussion.
When conflict begins to destroy morale and productivity on your team, you need a quick solution. Essential Skills for Managing Conflict is full of action-oriented advice that will teach you and your staff how to confront conflict in a healthy and effective way. Don’t let conflict fester.
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