How to Have Difficult Conversations as a Leader

How to Have Difficult Conversations as a Leader

One of the biggest challenges most leaders face today is having difficult conversations with their people. Here’s a simple approach you can use.

1. Talk to Them, Not At Them

No one likes a boss who constantly talks down to them or makes them feel little.  One of the most important things any leader can do to have a better difficult conversation is to start with the mindset of “talking to them, not at them.”  Remember the purpose of this conversation is to help another person improve and do better next time, not beat them up for a mistake that is already in the past.

2. Stick to the Facts

One of the biggest mistakes leaders make when having a difficult conversation is focusing too much on their feelings and not enough on the facts.  John Adams famously said, “facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” Stick to the facts.

3. Tell Them What’s Next

In order to get the behavior to change, it’s paramount leaders tell the person with whom they are having the difficult conversation with what’s next and what’s expected of them moving forward.  So often leaders forget this simple step and it leads to an increase in difficult conversations down the road.

Remember the most important part of having great difficult conversations is having them before things boil up to one massive conversation about firing someone.

5 Steps to Create a Great Culture Webinar: Join John on a live Webinar November 14th at 12PM EST as he goes over the 5 C’s of a Welder Culture and specific things you can do to help build a positive culture in your organization. Limited space available register here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is also the author of F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader, and is passionate about the development of modern professionals. Follow him on Instagram @johngeades.