Those Difficult Conversations


No one likes having them, well unless you’ve got the hide of a rhinoceros – those awkward conversations that typically make us feel slightly-to-very uncomfortable. These are the ones that centre on things like: Asking for money that’s overdue (even though it’s overdue); asking for time off (again); asking for a wage or condition review; telling an employee that they really do need to do better even though they are trying so, so hard…

I can relate to the challenges of the employee; in spite of some progress, our organisations are still hierarchical structures of power and knowing-your-place; where staff “rights” are pre-packaged and rarely debated. But to mature, we need allow our people the right to question.

I was intrigued to read, though, that even those seen as stellar leaders and managers tend to put tough conversations of performance off with such a high degree of frequency. They confront them when they’ve worked up enough energy and resolve to initiate them and carry them through. Frankly, because these are emotionally tough events; I don’t want to burst the bubble of someone who thinks they are a star. So, the approach is to commit a time and to prepare; to rebuild after you’ve destroyed; and to provide a structured means of development. 
I’ve had more cases of gratitude than grudge as a result.