Managing difficult conversations

Managing difficult conversations

By difficult conversations I mean those ‘chats’ we need to have, dread having and therefore have been putting off for weeks – like tackling the issue of the staff member who constantly comes in late but can react badly when tackled (and we really can’t afford to do without him at the minute, can we?); knowing you need to chat to your flat mate who simply never cleans up but is a good laugh in the evenings (and we wouldn’t want to spoil that would we?); facing dealing with the problem of the kids next door who have a party every time their parents go away but their parents are lovely people who sometimes look after our dog (and we’d be lost without them wouldn’t we?).

We may smile in mild recognition but there are much more serious examples that really impact on businesses and organisations and essentially make them dysfunctional. A Board or senior management team that cannot have constructive debate where its members can express ideas, concerns and challenges very quickly becomes stagnant. If difficult conversations are not possible progress will be limited and either nothing happens or, worse perhaps, the issue that needs to be expressed simmers and eventually boils over with unrecoverable damage ensuing.

The good news is that there are skills to be learned that make difficult conversations easier – just as we can learn how to take effective minutes at a meeting, we can also learn skills for dealing with issues that could potentially cause conflict.

One of the areas of expertise at the better way is training, particularly for board members, in having difficult conversations. In short, bespoke sessions we work with members of your team to enable them to improve communication in the context of areas of potential dispute and conflict.

If you would like to find out more about this service contact us at

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