How difficult conversations can impact your team

I feel like this is going to be another one of those calls where we walk away not having made any decision.

This is what a team member said to my client during a team meeting.

My client could feel the mood dampen.

Everyone was silent, digesting the comment in the room or on their end of the connection, maybe because they felt that too, or maybe because they didn’t know how to reply.

There were no raised voices. No slammed doors.

But often a difficult conversation doesn’t involve any of that.

A difficult conversation can look like a challenge from someone in your team. A cry for help, for attention. This team member was getting discouraged and needed reassurance. Needed leadership to create a different outcome.

How we respond to that challenge is SO important.

Often, we’re not quite ready for that challenge, and a difficult conversation turns into a difficult situation, and before you know it, the whole team culture suffers as a result. It may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s really not.

Difficult conversations can be the starting point for a lot of things going wrong in a team and an organisation.

They damage trust – How we lead through a difficult conversation can impact upon our team’s trust in our leadership and in our ability to see their side of the story.

They undermine teamwork – Collaboration drops when difficult conversations are not dealt with well. They take a lot of energy and they can distract your team from their shared purpose and goals.

They increase turnover – A lot of leaders are struggling with turnover at the moment, and you would be surprised how many of these turnover stories started with a difficult conversation.

What I find upsetting is the fact that every difficult conversation carries so much opportunity. It’s really a turning point that could lead to positive change and impact, or to any of the things I’ve mentioned above.

And look, I’m not saying I love difficult conversions, and I can’t wait for them to happen. But we don’t need to love them, we just need to be prepared for them and lead people through to the other side of a conversation with confidence (and a touch of vulnerability).

You might feel like you’ve got this under control but, if you feel like you could do with some support, I can show you how to handle difficult conversations in one of my masterclasses. This masterclass focuses particularly on talking about performance within our team, but really, you’ll get universal skills and tips for any kind of difficult conversation.

You can get the masterclass here.

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