Check Your Mindset Before a Difficult Conversation


Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

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If you’re preparing yourself for a conversation that you’ve labeled “difficult,” you’re more likely to feel nervous, stressed, angry, or upset.

o To minimize these negative emotions, reframe how you’re thinking about the conversation: You’re not saying no to your boss; you’re offering up an alternative solution. You’re not giving someone negative feedback; you’re starting a constructive conversation about their development.

o This isn’t sugarcoating. Be honest with yourself about how hard the conversation might be, but frame it as constructively as possible. You might tell yourself: We may have to talk about difficult things, but we’ll work through them together because we’ve always respected each other.

o And focus on what you stand to gain from the conversation — assume you have something to learn. By entering the discussion with an open mind, regardless of your coworker’s stance, you’re more likely to find common ground.

Adapted from the HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict, by Amy Gallo

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