It’s both hard to control your own emotions and respond appropriately to employees, when they become emotional. The key to keeping the conversation on track and constructive starts with going into it with the right state of mind.
To do so, author and leadership expert Quint Studer, recommends asking yourself these questions before you go into a tough conversation:
- Am I being fair and consistent? It’s important that you don’t have one set of rules for one person and a different set for another.
- Am I too focused on being “right”? Just because you may disagree with someone doesn’t mean they are wrong. People have different experiences and points of view. Life isn’t always about “right” or “wrong.” When you have that attitude, you probably won’t even listen to what the other person is saying.
- Do I need to call in a witness, document the conversation, or consider other legalities? Depending on the nature of the situation, you might. If you’re not sure, consult an HR rep or employment attorney.
- Is it possible that I am wrong? You need to go in with an open mind, says Studer. “You’re diagnosing, not condemning. You may not know all the variables causing the person to do the things they’re doing. Often, we hear something totally unexpected that shifts our perspective. We can always be wrong! Knowing this and being willing to admit it is a sign that you’re a strong leader. It will also help you be a better listener.”
- What outcome do I want? You should end with action items for both you and the other person to improve things going forward. So establish some goals for the employee and come prepared to talk about what you expect from the employee, and how you will support him or her.
For tips on conducting a difficult conversation, check out this video with Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris.
About the Author:
Quint Studer is the author of Wall Street Journal bestseller The Busy Leader’s Handbook and a lifelong businessman, entrepreneur, and student of leadership. He not only teaches it; he has done it. He has worked with individuals at all levels and across a variety of industries to help them become better leaders and create high-performing organizations. He seeks always to simplify high-impact leader behaviors and tactics for others.
Quint has a great love for teaching his insights in books and has authored nine of them in addition to The Busy Leader’s Handbook. His book Results That Last also made the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Building a Vibrant Community, published in 2018, is a blueprint for communities seeking to revitalize themselves.
Quint is the founder of Vibrant Community Partners and Pensacola’s Studer Community Institute. He currently serves as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of West Florida.