4 Tips for Tough Talks at Work

4 Tips for Tough Talks at Work

Sometimes you have to step up and have that tough talk with an employee or coworker. Whether is because of some kind of negligence on their part, or something as trivial as stinking up the office with their cologne, it can be hard to approach the subject. However, if the issue is impacting the team as a whole or altering the dynamics, the problem has to be addressed.

Tough Talk Tip #1: Don’t Delay

One of the main problems people run into is addressing the problem after it has been an issue for a while or has become a habit. It is often harder to breach the subject when everyone has become accustomed to dealing with the problem. The best policy to have is to be upfront and meet the problem head on as soon as you become aware of it. The sooner an issue is addressed, the sooner you can change things around and make the team environment whole again.

Tough Talk Tip #2: Preparation is Key

Everyone reacts to situations differently. It is important to keep this in mind when you go in to have a tough talk. Some people meet constructive criticism with an open mind while others become defensive. Being ready for all of these different reactions before you approach someone can help you deal with their response. In any situation, be sure to be empathetic and sensible. You set the tone for the conversation so by being calm and reasonable, they in turn will feel more comfortable.

Tough Talk Tip #3: Privacy Matters

Although this may seem like a no-brainer, make sure to have these tough talks in private. Whether this is in a closed door office or somewhere out of earshot of others, it is crucial to meet face-to-face without interruption. You want to be able to openly express your concerns and have them feel comfortable to respond without the judgment or input from their peers.

Tough Talk Tip #4: Choose Your Words

Despite your relationship with the person, it is important to remember to choose your words wisely. This is, at the end of the day, a business interaction and needs to be treated as such. As always, avoid inappropriate language and be sure to stay focused on the person’s performance and behavior. Although you maybe have a friendship outside of the office, inside the office you need to keep things professional. Be sure to let them know that this conversation is difficult for you as well and that confronting this issue isn’t fun for you either. Work with them on improving their performance rather than leaving the solution up in the air.

No one likes to have difficult conversations; however, with these tips, it can ease the anxiety of addressing an issue. By understanding your role in the conversation, setting the tone, and staying professional, you can easily and quickly rectify a problem and find a solution.