As a manager or business owner, one of your primary jobs is keeping your employees working at peak efficiency. Sometimes, there will be situations that require you to have tough conversations in order to keep things running smoothly. While these conversations are never pleasant, they can be managed. Below are four ways you can ensure that you will get through unpleasant conversations with a minimum of fuss.
Know the Outcome You Want
Never go into a tough conversation without a game plan. You should always know what the ideal outcome is so that you can work towards it during the conversation. In some cases, the ideal outcome might require a change in behavior on the part of the other participant. In others, you might just be trying to minimize fallout after a decision that the other party won’t like. If you know what needs to happen, you’ll be better prepared to work towards that solution.
While being diplomatic might seem like it makes a tough conversation easier, the truth is that unclear communication makes things difficult for everyone involved. If you have to have a tough conversation, it’s up to you to be honest about what you need to talk about. Get down to business quickly and make sure the other party knows exactly what the conversation is about.
Since you are the person in charge of the meeting, it’s up to you to provide solutions to the problem. Don’t expect the other party to fix things without your input. While the solution to the issue at hand might seem obvious, that’s clearly not the case – if it was, you wouldn’t have to have that conversation at all. Don’t just call out an employee who has a problem – offer him or her a chance to make things right. When you provide a solution, you have a better chance of controlling the outcome.
Finally, make sure you keep your cool. Even if the situations that have led to the conversation are emotional, you are still in a professional environment. Never let your temper get the best of you, even if you feel like there’s a good reason. Likewise, don’t be overly sentimental or friendly if there is a real problem. It’s up to you to make sure that things change, so act like a boss. The better you control your emotions, the better the conversation is likely to turn out.
Remember, you can only control your part of the conversation. Be professional, direct, and willing to work with the other party as much as you can. With a little effort, you can make these tough conversations pay off for everyone involved.