Difficult conversations are an inevitable part of any manager’s job.
Here are three steps to keep those tough conversations productive, not combative:
- Decide on a realistic outcome. Remember, you and your counterpart may want different things. Think about your desired outcome rather than accomplishing everything on your personal agenda.
- Focus on the future. What is your ultimate goal? Describe it and the benefits of your vision. If this is a review conversation, explain how you’d like to work with your employee going forward.
- Identify what’s in the way. With the future as your backdrop, articulate what is interfering with reaching the goal. This helps to keep the conversation away from personal barbs and focused on making positive changes.