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How to Master Difficult Conversations at Work – Leader’s Guide


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Confrontation and having difficult conversations with employees is one of the hardest jobs of a leader. Learn how to approach them using the GROW acronym:

G is for Goals
Start every difficult conversation by stating its purpose

R is for Reality
State the reality of how the person is performing or how he or she is behaving.

O is for Options
Lay out a few options to help this person improve.

W is for Willingness
Ask this person what they would do and give them time to respond

Here's the full article about it:

Let us know how you approach difficult conversations!

Published in: Leadership & Management
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How to Master Difficult Conversations at Work – Leader’s Guide

  2. 2. As a leader, think about your overall role and responsibilities.
  3. 3. What do you think is your hardest task? What are you most reluctant to do?
  4. 4. What do you think is the most challenging situation when it comes to your team members?
  5. 5. For us it’s having difficult conversations with employees.
  6. 6. And although confronting someone about their performance or behavior is not a piece of cake...
  7. 7. Handling these conversations well is a crucial part of helping your employees and company grow.
  8. 8. So, where do you start? We propose this acronym: G R O W
  9. 9. for goalsG Start every difficult conversation by stating its purpose.
  10. 10. Reassure your employee that they are not losing their job and that you are genuinely there to help them improve.
  11. 11. “Hi Chris, I’ve called for this meeting to work out some ways that we can improve the way you have been communicating with others. This is important as we are a team that emphasizes collaboration. I am here to help you get there.” What to say:
  12. 12. “Hi Chris, something has come to my attention lately - your teammates have been complaining that you have been uncooperative.” What not to say:
  13. 13. for reality State the facts about person’s behavior or performance. R
  14. 14. Be truthful without demeaning the person or personalizing the feedback. Give a general area that can be improved with specific examples.
  15. 15. Say something like: “You can work on the quality of your code - this recent project had 14 peer reviews and comments mentioned that the code lacked documentation and was buggy.”
  16. 16. Be specific about their shortcomings and set expectations for improvement.
  17. 17. O for options Lay out a few options for the person to improve.
  18. 18. Think of a few different ways that a person can improve their performance or behavior.
  19. 19. Focusing on and discussing possible solutions rather than a problem is key here!
  20. 20. for willingnessW Ask the person what they would do and give them time to respond.
  21. 21. This is the most important part!
  22. 22. Ask the person what would he or she would be willing to do. Let them think - don’t force a decision.
  23. 23. Then, ask yourself: Where is their willingness coming from? Is it sincere or out of fear?
  24. 24. Next, follow up with the agreement. Don’t leave things hanging.
  25. 25. Practice these steps when having your difficult work conversations. Also, keep these things in mind when the time comes:
  26. 26. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth! courage
  27. 27. Think about your fears about this difficult situation. Move past them and be courageous!
  28. 28. it's possible to speak the truth while still considering the other person’s feelings. care
  29. 29. Look at every individual’s past and characteristics, their weaknesses and strengths, what is happening outside of work, and accept them for who they are.
  30. 30. Learn to forgive yourself. forgive
  31. 31. We may not always make the right decision, even if it is the best decision.
  32. 32. Take this path of loving leadership.
  33. 33. Lead by caring for others while continuing to make the right decisions for the company’s success. It takes more time and effort, but this journey will be worth it.
  34. 34. Let us know what are your tips for having challenging conversations at work! Read the full article here: ter-difficult-conversations