… next week becomes next month,
… finally, if we put it off long enough and see no “obvious” repercussions – we simply assume all is well and move on.
Listen, this is normal human behavior. No one “wants” to have an awkward or difficult conversation with anyone. There’s a logical reason for this …
5 irrefutable facts that cause us to avoid difficult conversations:
- 1.Difficult conversations never get “easy” because they inherently involve confrontation no matter what the topic.
- 2.People’s reactions make difficult conversations unpredictable.
- 3.Often high stakes conversations get “sprung” on the manager.
- 4.Most difficult conversations are emotional.
- 5.Most people have never been coached to have these conversations with the right balance of empathy and assertiveness.
Read #5 again. That fact is the most damaging. Let me explain …
“Just do it!”
That’s the typical guidance you hear when faced with a difficult conversation. Like we’re athletes who need inspiration before a game.
The common reasoning for that advice:
… Any delay makes things worse for when you do work up with courage.
… Outright avoiding the conversation really isn’t an option at all.
No one disputes that. But, it’s often followed up with this out-of-touch comment: “what’s the worst that can happen?”
Hmm, let’s see …
- An employee starts crying, leaving the supervisor unsure whether the reaction is genuine or manipulation – and confused about the right way to respond to this emotional outpouring.
- The employee who loves to debate becomes argumentative and loud after you tell him he needs to stop belittling coworkers’ ideas in meetings. When you try to rebut him with facts – he digs his heels in making the situation more combustible.
- You sit in awkward silence for 2 long minutes waiting for your introverted new employee to explain why they have been regularly coming in late.
- The A-player whose performance has waned threatens to go over your head (or just go behind your back and distort your words) when challenged to step up.
- A gossiping employee gets defensive and starts “stretching the truth” when confronted about his behavior and the impact on the team; the longer the conversation goes on, the more he denies any wrongdoing – even in the face of your proof.
… And worst of all, the person could just “act” like they heard you, understood you, then continue doing the same things that led to the conversation in the first place…
Putting you in an even more awkward situation to have the uncomfortable conversation for a second or third time.
The possibilities are endless – and the outcomes unpredictable. It’s exasperating just thinking about it.
Anyone willing to go into a “high stakes” situation with a difficult person based on the shallow advice of “just do it” is misguided at best.
You need a plan, and …
… you need tools and countermeasures to navigate the rocky terrain of difficult conversations in the workplace – and the hidden landmines that lie within.
Fortunately, ResourcefulManager spent 6 weeks researching the best solution for difficult management challenges like this.
The result …
The ResourcefulManager 3-Part Framework for Conducting Successful Difficult Conversations
Before The Talk
- The first decision you need to make when you learn of an issue (we tend to go the wrong way on this)
- The real goal you should have going into every difficult conversation – and how this focus will reduce your anxiety and subconsciously help you maintain your cool during the talk
- The 5 key elements you need to implant in your mindset to get positive outcomes consistently
- How to ask for the conversation without “scaring” the employee
- When to schedule the talk and where to have it
During The Talk
- #1 mistake people make opening the conversation (this bad advice is rampant on the web)
- The 14-word starter statement to kick off the conversation the right way (doing this sets the appropriate tone)
- When and why you should create physical space between you and the other participant
- If you have a reasonable suspicion of THIS do not, I repeat, do not have a one-on-one conversation – do this instead
- How to use “basic facts” like lawyers do to minimize most disagreements, corroborate stories and navigate “he said, she said” gossip
- How to tell your side of the story in a way that is accepted and not perceived as a personal attack
- Why you’re sabotaging your own efforts by skipping this important step in the conversation (most managers avoid it out of fear)
- Counterintuitive reason you should allow the person to vent uninterrupted – and why it’s necessary to reach a positive resolution that sticks
- How to find the underlying issue – the catalyst for resolution – hidden in the other person’s story and rants
- The two outcomes of every difficult conversation … one fails often, the other increases buy-in and makes follow-through much easier
- Why you should end the conversation like you started
Are You Prepared To Handle These 10 Thwarting Ploys?
Difficult conversations are unpredictable because the person in the room will often try anything to derail – or take control – of the conversation.
Consciously or subconsciously, they use several “thwarting ploys,” to avoid facing the truth and consequences of their behavior.
On pages 22-26 we show you how to disarm these conversation red herrings.
After The Talk
- Should you document every difficult conversation and get the employee to sign it?
- Follow-up best practices to ensure the action plan you agreed to gets executed and the employee stays motivated
- How to keep the conversation legal and avoid the most common employment law claim employees file against employers
A misstep at any of those three stages will seriously reduce the chances of arriving at a successful outcome.
Now, what about difficult conversations with your boss or coworkers?
Beyond Manager-Employee Conversations …
- How to broach delicate situations with a coworker
- How to approach your boss or a superior
- How to mediate conflict between two coworkers or two direct reports
Difficult conversations are difficult for a reason. There’s a lot at stake and many things can go wrong. For example …
Do You Make Any of These 10 Mistakes When Having a Difficult Conversation
- Letting the person slip away – literally
- Winging it
- Beginning with an apology
- Getting emotional – or feeding into emotions thrusted at you
- Shying away from any further confrontation
- Belaboring the point
- Going it alone
- Picking the wrong time or wrong place
- Letting the conversation degenerate into a debate or argument
- Failing to follow-up
We cover these common pitfalls – and detail what you should to do avoid them.
When you follow the framework and advice outlined throughout this page, you’ll never fall prey to these mistakes.
What To Say and What Not To Say In Tough Conversations
27 Scripts of What To Say In The Toughest Difficult Conversations
Real-life scenarios with specific language you can use to prepare for your next tough talk. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s inside this bonus guide:
- The employee that smells bad (or too good)
- When someone says, “That’s not my job”
- When people are habitually late or excessively late
- The employee with the inappropriate wardrobe
- The office gossip
- The person that’s “never wrong” and doesn’t take responsibility
… And 21 more scenario to help you navigate these commons situations.
25 Things Never to Say During A Difficult Conversation
There are some things you should never say during one of these discussions. The statements covered in this guide not only give you an explicit example of language to avoid, they also represent a category of dialogue to steer clear of overall.
Here’s the reality …
No one can tell you exactly what to do or what to say during a difficult conversation. These talks are dynamic. But we understand that most people need to see practical examples to drive home the key concepts before putting them in action.
The “safe” language to use and precise phrases not to say will crystallize everything you learn in the Blueprint, help you to sidestep traps and legal issues, and prevent you from unknowingly self-sabotaging the talk with “trigger phrases.”
Confidence and Poise …
… these are the traits you must have to conduct difficult conversations effectively. The belief in your capabilities to prepare and execute the action necessary to manage any situation with tact.
Armed with this 44-page Blueprint, 3-part framework and practical tools you now have everything you need to navigate the emotional and ominous minefield of difficult conversations with consistently satisfying results for you the other person.
“Must-Be-Resourceful” 90-Day Money Back Guarantee
ResourcefulManager’s “Difficult Conversations With Employees” Blueprint comes with an unconditional, 100% money back guarantee.
We’re confident you’ll find several new and useful ideas to help you navigate difficult conversations in the workplace, presented in a practical, easy-to-implement format.
In fact, we’ll give you a full 90 days to carve out the time in your busy schedule to read the Blueprint, digest the strategies, put the advice into action, and experience the results in your specific situation.
We believe to be a great manager … is to be resourceful. So every piece of content and product we create is designed to make you more knowledgeable, prepared and resourceful. Just for the record, As of 3/28/18, we’ve sold 5,427 ResourceManager products and only have had 68 refund requests.
If you decide “Difficult Conversations With Employees” Blueprint doesn’t deliver value or simply isn’t your cup of tea, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org within 90 days, and we’ll process your complete, no-hassle refund in 1 business day or less.
But I’m confident you won’t need to.
To your success,
Get the ResourcefulManager Blueprint
Difficult Conversations With Employees:A Proven Framework That Works
A 3-Part Framework to Get People to Open Up Honestly, Prevent Blow-Ups, De-escalate Uncomfortable, Emotional Situations – and Get the Positive Outcome You Want
Here’s What You Get
- 50-page, step-by-step Blueprint
- Blueprint Extra: Difficult Conversation Checklist
- Premium Bonus: 27 Scripts of What To Say In The Toughest Difficult Conversations
- Premium Bonus: 25 Things Never to Say During A Difficult Conversation
- Download Immediately, PDF Format
- 90-day “Must-Be-Resourceful Money Back Guarantee”
Get This Blueprint & Much More …
With a ResourcefulManager Insider membership you’ll get immediate access to the Blueprint you’re looking at right now, plus all this in your account on day one:
- 16 Blueprints (PDF) – detailed, step-by-step frameworks, advice and recommendations for navigating everyday management challenges and difficult situations.
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- 80 Practical Tools (PDF) – desk references such as checklists, worksheets, scripts, and more to help implement new ideas. Bridging the gap between advice and execution.
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