Some employees push the boundaries and arrive at work late, leave early and generally don’t follow company procedures. The problem is that many line managers simply don’t want to appear rude and some just feel uncomfortable about having to engage in difficult conversations avoiding them where possible. However, being in a position of management requires you to address these situations for the benefit of the business.
Here’s our top tips for managing difficult conversations:
- Decide what your objective is? What do you want or need to achieve by having this conversation? Pick an appropriate time and place to have the conversation.
- Make sure you know your facts and have them to hand. It will make you feel more confident even if you don’t refer to them during the conversation.
- Run through your questions beforehand. Ask yourself are you being fair and consistent with all members of staff? If you are addressing one person’s lateness, then you must apply the same approach to other members if needed.
- Don’t beat around the bush. Be clear about why you are having the conversation and explain this at the outset.
- Be sincere and don’t make a joke to lighten the situation.
- Clearly define the impact the problem will have or is having.
- Stay calm and ask for their response. Giving them the chance to reply is not only fair but also helps you assess their attitude to the issue.
- Acknowledge their opinion and reaction.
- Finish with a summary of the next steps or actions required and put this in writing. Don’t be afraid to issue a ‘management instruction’ if necessary.
- Is a follow up needed? If so, document it and set a reminder to meet.
If you need help managing any difficult conversations our team can help. We can provide training to help you manage difficult conversations and become more confident in dealing with difficult situations. Why not book onto our training course, Managing Difficult Conversations on 12th December. We can also provide HR advice, mediation services and support at disciplinary hearings. Contact the team on 01924 827869 or speak to your HR Consultant.