There are times when having a difficult conversation at work is necessary. As a leadership expert for over 20 years, I often coach people, of various experience levels, through having these conversations effectively.
Of course, difficult conversations can take many forms. It could be a discussion between two peers of equal level who disagree about how to move forward on a project. It could also be between a boss and an employee over a performance concern.
Although the subject matter may change, the stakes remain the same: Being ill-prepared for these exchanges can have an impact on your reputation and your role in team projects. Taking this a step further, poor communication can affect a company’s bottom line. And, in today’s work environment, strong interpersonal skills are essential in increasingly collaborative, networked organizations. When communication goes off course, it can affect goals and targets negatively, prompt high turnover, and result in low employee engagement.
When our company, Steinbrecher And Associates, Inc., set out to collect data on the behaviors of highly successful, emotionally intelligent leaders, we discovered that their goal when interacting with others was to come to “alignment,” which is not necessarily to reach an agreement or to end a discussion in disagreement. We found that their objective was to arrive at an understanding, or a meeting of minds, that moved them closer to accomplishing a common goal.
Source: Fast Company