How to Deal with Difficult Conversations with Employees

In the world of business, communication is the key to success – the way in which you interact will determine the success or failure of a certain task.

However, when things get complicated and problems arise, it might become difficult for leaders to talk with their subordinates.

Argument Between Business People

© chompoo / Adobe Stock

Difficult Conversations

Problems with employee performance
As there is no perfect employee, expect that you will need to address problems with one or more of them – as poor performance at work can affect the business. This type of conversation is not always easy, as an unsettled talk can either mislead the weight of the problem or discourage the employee’s will to improve.

Personal conflict
Conflicts are inevitable within the business; however, personal conflicts which could start from personality clashes, spreading rumours, complaints and grievances can be difficult to talk about, as they mostly involve emotions which have no place in a professional environment.

Management issues
We have already established that there’s no perfect employee but there’s no perfect company either! Complaints regarding a certain department or person within the workplace will arise. In this situation, the inevitable cycle of denials and complaints will be a difficult conversation to get through.

How Should You Deal with these Problems?

Continued communication with the team
Always remember that communication is the key to flawless teamwork. Heads of department should always find the time to ask about the wellbeing of their employees, raise concerns and convey sincere words of encouragement to keep everyone motivated in their jobs.

Appoint employee representatives
Involving your employees in the company system will help to maintain a good and professional environment. Select representatives from your employees to serve as a fair medium to voice feedback about the company.

A quiet word in the infancy of a problem
While it’s best to act immediately on seeing any signs of an upcoming problem, it is also advisable to have a quiet word if you see a problem with anyone’s performance. A harsh approach will only discourage and it is unlikely to improve or fix the problem.

Consider how you communicate
Think carefully about how you communicate with your employees, as you do not want to be misinterpreted. In case an employee is trying to upset or undermine you, focus solely on the specific issue. Apologise for any mistake on your part, state the solutions you can provide and make sure you’re committed to future improvements.

Improve your ability to control a meeting
More than maintaining the authority during business meetings, a leader must make sure that their control doesn’t suppress the employees’ right to speak, as this is what makes you a team. When talking with employees, always give them the chance to explain their side, then consider it carefully before stating your views. Eventually, you’ll come up with a fair agreement.

Communication plays a vital part in any thriving business, even if conflicts do crop up from time to time. With the right approach and proper control during discussions, an amiable relationship is not impossible.

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Posted by Sara Cano

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