Handling Difficult Conversations At Work

Think about all the difficult conversations at work that you have been putting off. A list popped in your mind? Don’t worry, we all have been there. It is obvious that we freak out when it comes to discussing crucial matters or when delivering a bad news, and due to that, we keep on postponing the conversation, hoping to get away from it. But does that help? I don’t think so. The more you avoid the conversation, the more difficult it becomes for you to bring it up in the future. So, write the list of conversations that you need to have with your boss or colleagues or subordinates because we are here to help you with delivering the bad news or sort the things out.

Plenty of times you’ve been avoiding some of the crucial, furious, challenging, … (you got the idea), in general, difficult conversations at work so that you don’t ruin your relationships with your colleagues or your subordinates. Here are some tips for you so as to handle those conversations, in a better, more professional way.

Be unambiguous about the matter

Before discussing the problem or the matter, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • What exactly is the action that is causing the issue?
  • How is that issue affecting you or the organization?
  • workplace conflict at work difficult conversation

Then you need to stick to those issues and make sure that you don’t derail the conversation. It would be much better if you clearly state the problem instead of dropping hints. Sometimes, people are not good at understanding subtle hints, and if that happens, it would make no sense of having the conversation at all.

Change your viewpoint

If you will label the conversation as “difficult”, it will make you more nervous and depressed about it. You can approach the matter in a more positive way, for instance, instead of viewing as a negative review, you can consider it as constructive feedback.

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Plan the conversation beforehand

You can note down the points that you need to discuss during the conversation. But don’t draft a script for the conversation; it will only leave you fumbled when the response is not what you expected.

Manage their emotions

The old-school notion of ‘leaving your emotions at the door’ is no longer true at workplaces. As a team leader or manager, you need to understand emotions of the person who is in the tight spot during the conversation. Emotions can play a major role in ruining your workplace relationships, so you need to maintain person’s dignity even if you completely disagree with him/her.


Don’t use a lot of words to prove or justify your point, listen to what other person wants to say instead. Also, you need to slow down your pace so you get some time to think before you speak and can pick the right words to convey your message.

Implementing all the above-mentioned things while having difficult conversations at work will give you a surefire way to communicate your message without hurting your workplace relationships.

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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