How to Have Hard Conversations With Your Employees


Get Shift Done: Management

No matter what industry you’re in, there are going to be times when you need to have conversations you wish you could outsource to someone else. Reprimanding, course correction and the like are never fun conversations to have, but you can make them go a lot more smoothly with these few tips.

Get Ready

First and foremost, you need to get your mind ready. Think of it as doing stretches before a workout. Make sure you’re calm and never go into one of these talks angry.

Anger can make you say things that can come off as unprofessional, crass and hateful. That isn’t the image you want to portray to your employees. No matter what the conversation is about, wait until you have a cool head before broaching the subject.

Be Direct

Don’t work up to what you need to say with chitchat. This makes both parties uncomfortable and agitated. Now that you’ve gotten ready, execute the approach you’ve decided upon. If you’re having trouble getting started say, “The reason I asked you to meet with me today is…” and go from there.

Be Positive

No matter what the conversation entails, there’s always room for positivity. Adding some positivity into any situation can help it go more smoothly. If you’re talking with your employee about improving productivity, for example, the conversation could start like this:

“Hi Tim. I asked you to meet with me today to talk about your productivity. The quality of your work is outstanding. We love what you’ve been doing. I would just like to talk with you to see if we can figure out a way to increase your productivity without sacrificing what you do so well.”

Tim’s manager heaped on praise while still bringing up the area where Tim needs some adjustments. With this type of approach, employees don’t feel attacked, they feel like you are trying to help them, which makes for a stronger team environment.

Don’t let hard conversations ruin your team. Keeping your cool, getting to the point and being positive can make any hard conversation easier.

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