MNA Life Style Desk: Conflict is unavoidable in situations where individuals are spending extended periods of time together, so it should come as no surprise that difficult conversations will arise in the workplace.
Having difficult conversations is never easy, whether it is with co-workers, staff, or a supervisor; however, with skills and practice, work life and its inevitable conflicts can become more productive and comfortable for everyone involved.
Find the root cause of the conflict
Before going into a difficult conversation, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions. What is the purpose of the conversation? What would you hope to accomplish? What would be the ideal outcome?
In addition, check for hidden purposes behind initiating a difficult conversation. Many individuals believe they are going into a confrontational conversation with honorable goals, such as educating an employee or increasing communication, only to approach with a critical or condescending attitude. Work on yourself first to ensure that you are starting a conversation with a supportive purpose.
Mentally prepare yourself
Begin by changing your mindset to have a positive attitude towards the conversation, rather than fearing it or being confrontational. The more calm and comfortable you are, the better you will handle a moment of conflict.
Avoid using harsh manner
Remember to acknowledge your counterpart’s perspective, and express interest in understanding how the other person feels about the situation. If you are having a difficult conversation that addresses something about the other individual or puts them in a difficult spot, it is important to ask them what you can do to help. As the conversation comes to an end, reflect on how it went and how you would change your approach when facing difficult conversations in the future.
Keep the desired end result in mind
Think about how the conversation can fix the situation without placing an irreparable wall of tension between you and your colleague. Plan the conversation ahead of time and think about what the desired outcome looks like. End the conversation with a resolution or recap of action plans to move forward.
Do not stress over
When things don’t go our way, let’s be flexible and shake it off as best we can. If anything, appreciate the adversity as an opportunity to grow stronger, and feel excited about the prospect of thriving even when conditions are less than ideal—you will feel a much greater sense of achievement!