We need to talk…

A difficult situation has come up. A person who already gets under your skin has done it again and the time has come to address their behaviour.

You hate confrontation. You wish you didn’t have to do it but you can’t put it off any longer… Its affecting you and the people around you too.

What do you do?
How do you handle this?

Generally speaking, in situations like this, we tend to get to the point where we reach our limit and then we kind of get ourselves to a knee-jerk response. We approach the tough conversation without much preparation and blurt out the first things that comes to mind, unsure what the impact will be and hope for the best.

We do know that the most important thing to do in these situations is to spend some time preparing.

Give serious thought to:
1. What you want to say
2. how you’re going to say it
3. When and where this is going to take place

A key question to begin with in your preparation time is,
What outcome do YOU want from this conversation?

When you’re crystal clear on your outcome, that will form the opening statement, the frame for the conversation and the closing too. When you’re clear on the outcome you want, you will understand why its important to do it and why you’re having this conversation.

For example, there are several objectives that may be had for a feedback conversation about a team member’s destructive behaviour.

One desired outcome may be to merely create awareness for the person about how their behaviour is impacting the team.
A different outcome may be to come up with an action plan to ensure that there will be a change in behaviour.

Each of these outcomes will give a different structure to the conversation.

So… next time you need to have a difficult conversation, prepare by first asking yourself, what is the outcome YOU want from this conversation? and then prepare…

What tips do you have that have helped you with tough conversations?

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