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Difficult conversations in the workplace

  • By Coinbox Limited
  • April 12, 2024

Difficult conversations

hashtagdifficultconversations are those conversations people do not want to go into. They are conversations on topics people would rather avoid for many reasons and any reason at all. This is as common in the workplace as it is in families, amongst friends, between couples and many other scenarios.

Focusing on the hashtagworkplace, for many people, difficult conversations are like public speaking where the person would rather die than go into it with the involved party. A study was carried out in America some years ago and people were asked to chose between speaking in public or just dying, most of them chose to die than speak in public.

Difficult conversations are very important especially in the workplace as they usually border on issues like

hashtagculture redefinition

–        Proper communication



–        Expectations and probable outcomes



–        Addressing hashtagperformance issues

–        Dealing with hashtaginappropriate behavior

–        Address hashtagteam issues



–        And so much more.

People usually avoid difficult conversations because.

–        they do not know what the outcome will be.

–        They are very uncomfortable discussing the matter.

–        They can do without discussing it for now.

–         They are afraid of being disliked.

–        They are afraid of looking foolish/embarrassment.

–        They are not sure if it’s their job role.

–        And many other reasons

As a matured leader, having difficult conversations successfully is a way of sharpening your mental and emotional sword, making you a better leader.

To go into difficult conversations, consider some of the above points.

–        Don’t go into a difficult or complex conversation with emotions, try and be sober and objective.

–        Start with small talk or related story as intro.

–        Listen actively and intentionally.

–        Do not go judgmental, hear the other party out with an open mind.

–        Lay the issues objectively.

–        Don’t get personal.

–        Ensure you have done your findings and have your facts to back your presentation.

–        Go into such discussions with a mindset of coming out of it positively.

–        Once you start, go all the way, and lay all the issues or go as far as you need to go and don’t hold back. If you hold back, you will soon need to have another version of the difficult conversation.

–        Always ensure you close with a commitment and summarize with agreed follow up/monitoring/review of results.

–        Listen and respond only but do not react.

–        Difficult conversations are very necessary and part of everyday life which includes work, so have them already.

–        Recognize when a white flag is raised and not keep striking a dead horse!

Don’t look for the right time to go into a difficult conversation as there is usually never a right time, it is based on need for urgency and the current body language of the involved party amongst other determinants.


Ayo Emakhiomhe (ayo@coinboxlimited.com.ng)


Coinbox Limited

A Management Consultancy, SME Business Development & Support Company, And HR Consultancy.

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