Making Difficult Conversations Less Difficult

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Some psychology relevant to having difficult conversations

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  • Attribution theory helps us understand human motivation. It reminds us that people who experience frequent success / positive outcomes often attribute their success to their own effort or ability, and their failure to their own lack of effort or ability. People who experience repeated failure / negative experience, however, often attribute their failure to bad luck or to task difficulty, and their success to good luck or the ease of the task (Weiner, 1990).
  • “ Anger may bring extra energy, but it eclipses the best part of our brain: its rationality. The energy of anger is almost always unreliable.” Dalai Lama on Twitter
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  • Making Difficult Conversations Less Difficult

    1. 1. How to make difficult work conversations less difficult Helping organisations bring out the best in their talent Helping individuals make positive and rewarding career choices www.pinpoint.ie Prepared by John Deely BA MSc Occupational Psychologist with Pinpoint.
    2. 2. ABOUT PINPOINT <ul><li>Pinpoint – occupational psychologists and career management specialists </li></ul><ul><li>Key Services: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coaching talent in organisations especially new managers and teams working under pressure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Career direction and development for individuals off their own bat or as part of a redundancy programme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Profiling – psychometric testing of talent </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Firstly, Gain Perspective
    4. 4. The Biggest Barrier <ul><li>One of the biggest barriers for having difficult conversations is anxiety caused by incorrect assumptions. </li></ul><ul><li>Inner speech (or self talk) plays a central role in human consciousness. </li></ul><ul><li>A key concept in the study of optimism, depression, healthy marriages. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Let go feelings & Provide Clarity
    6. 6. Avoid Avoidance <ul><li>“ Can’t do it today, too busy” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’ll catch it at the performance review” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Maybe someone else will tell them” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Their work was good today, so maybe it is ok” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I don’t want to upset the apple cart” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I can’t believe they could not be aware they are doing a bad job” </li></ul>
    7. 7. Questions to challenge yourself <ul><li>How will I be helping them? </li></ul><ul><li>Why am I delaying this? </li></ul><ul><li>Will delaying telling them about this problem make it go away? </li></ul><ul><li>Would I like to know how I was doing? </li></ul><ul><li>What am I assuming their reaction will be? </li></ul>
    8. 8. Give room to explore <ul><li>Avoid or don’t rush into </li></ul><ul><li>Advising, Giving Solutions </li></ul><ul><li>“ Why don’t you...” </li></ul><ul><li>Ordering, Directing </li></ul><ul><li>“ You have to...” </li></ul><ul><li>Preaching, Moralising </li></ul><ul><li>“ You’d better not...” </li></ul><ul><li>Warning, Threatening </li></ul><ul><li>“ You ought to...” </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluating, Blaming </li></ul><ul><li>“ You’re wrong...” </li></ul><ul><li>Interpreting, Diagnosing </li></ul><ul><li>“ You need to...” </li></ul>
    9. 9. Delivering the message <ul><li>Be direct about the current and desired state </li></ul><ul><li>Own the message. Use “I” </li></ul><ul><li>Get to the point, don’t mix it in with other things. </li></ul><ul><li>Sensitive </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s not pretend it will be easy </li></ul><ul><li>Practice this communication </li></ul><ul><li>Like a muscle, it will develop. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Questions & Handouts

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