Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Are you having enough tough conversations?

In personal and professional life how often do we simply "let things slide... this time". Potentially because it is easier, we have too many other priorities, we are scared of conflict, don't want to hurt the other person or we kid ourselves that it is not such a big issue, really.

The problem is that this apathy can allow insignificant issues to fester and become real problems; problems that affect individual and team performance, and ultimately undermine your role as a leader.

Having tough conversations can be hard but how you approach it can make all the difference. Here's our top tips:

1. The starting point is your intention. Ask yourself, is addressing this issue in the best interest of the team, the organisation, the individual? If it is then be brave and have the conversation, regardless of the potential ramifications.

2. Be sure to challenge the behaviour (not the person) - so let them know what is working well, what they are good at, what you value in them. Then address the issue - make sure you can evidence it with examples.

3. Don't allow the other person to deflect the challenge. Often, when confronted with a behaviour issue we will try to turn the tables on someone or something else (aka Jim from the Apprentice). Stay on point, don't get drawn into any other discussion.

4. Make sure the challenge is understood - ask for feedback from the person on the behaviour being challenged.

5. Plan a path forward with the person. Get them to come up with thoughts for making the change and suggest ways in which you could support this.

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