A recent article by leadership coach and author Joel Garfinkle in the Harvard Business Review advises business managers to stop avoiding or delaying difficult conversations with workers and peers. “Such delays can hurt your relationships and create other negative outcomes,” writes Garfinkle.


“Don’t ignore the tough situations you are aware of today. When the opportunity presents itself to provide unsolicited negative feedback to a difficult colleague or give a less-than-positive performance evaluation, summon the courage to address the conflict head-on.”

Joel Garfinkle


Here is some advice from Garfinkle’s essay, “How to Have Difficult Conversations When You Don’t Like Conflict“:

1 | Begin from a place of curiosity and respect, and stop worrying about being liked

Even when the subject matter is difficult, conversations can remain mutually supportive. Respect the other person’s point of view, and expect them to respect yours.

2 | Focus on what you’re hearing, not what you’re saying

Your genuine attention and neutrality will encourage people to elaborate. For every statement the other person makes, mirror back what they’ve said, to validate that you understand them correctly.

3 | Be direct

Talking with people honestly and with respect creates mutually rewarding relationships, even when conversations are difficult.

4 | Don’t put it off

Instead of putting off a conversation for some ideal future time, when it can be more easily dealt with, tackle it right away. Get your cards on the table so you can resolve the issue and move on.respectful, and productive.

5 | Expect a positive outcome

When your attention is focused on positive outcomes and benefits, it will shift your thinking process and inner dialogue to a more constructive place.

VIA | Harvard Business Review


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