A difficult conversation could be defined as a particular state of affairs where the stances of the parties involved are divergent and there is also an emotional backing to it. The emotions come into play because there is a lot at stake. The skills to manage the situations of difficult situations and matters are known as the skills of managing the difficult conversations. The most difficult conversations a person faces are related to the workplace due to the formal hierarchy, people find personal conversations less difficult than those at the work place. The presence of the skills required to manage the difficult conversations is one of the pivotal skills an individual regardless of his post can have, this leads to the higher growth in the career ahead. One question arises, why there is a need to manage difficult conversations? It is of utmost importance to manage the difficult conversations at the work because when the manager has to address the below than standard performance of the employees, he\ she has to address it carefully, it is a very difficult conversation to have as there are lots of emotions attached to it of employees. The employees at the work place find it dreadful to ask their administrators about the pay check hike; this is one of the scary topics to hold a conversation from the employee’s side with the managers. The skills of dealing with the difficult communication are necessary because not discussing the substandard performance would lead to the lower productivity of the employees further, would also deviate from the goals the organisation aims to accomplish. If would also be beneficial for the employees to get the feedback for their work as this would provide them with the chance to make room for the improvement in the future. There are several ways in which the difficult situation can be set up with the employees. The proper and regular communication with the employees would mean that the requirement of the difficult condition wouldn’t be required as the manager has idea about what employees are up to as there is a regular check on their work. The difficult communication can be set up through the appointment of the employee emissary to convey the message to the employees provided by the management.
The skills set required to handle such difficult conversations at the workplace are of great importance. There should be clarity among the defined objectives, without it the achievement of the goals won’t be possible. There shouldn’t be gaps in the communication in the organisation. Asking the question is an important criterion of learning, this clarifies the misunderstanding among the employers and the employees as people have different mindsets and they can make different interpretations of a task, so it is necessary to have a mindset of asking questions. The human emotions are a big hurdle for logical and rational thinking ability, getting the control of the emotions is important for having the difficult conversations. The control over the break out of emotions at the workplace is very important for better results.
Models of Difficult Conversation
There are variety of models based on the difficult conversations, namely COIN model and the CEDAR model. Sometimes the feedback process which started with the quiet word eventually leads to the confrontation and pointing allegations on each other.
To stop this from happening, there is the COIN model which is based on the feedback system in a non- confrontational way. The COIN stands for “Context Observation Impact and the Next Step.” By context it is meant that the topic or the event which is to be talked about. The observation is the description of what has occurred, which is why there is a conversation. The impacts are the end effects of the conversation on the employees and the corporation. The last one is the next step which can be defined as the conclusion on the changes or improvements the team or the organisation need to have for better results. The conversation should be in a private, so it won’t get interrupted for the COIN model to be useful.
The CEDAR model which is “Context Examples Diagnosis Actions Review” is a feedback model having 5 components. The first step is to set the context of the feedback; information without relevant context is of no use. The how the feedback has affected the desired results need to be addressed. The next step is to make the team understand the situation with the help of the examples or case studies to get them acquaint with the problem. The next step is the diagnosis of the problem, it explains the people concerned, why and where they are, it specifies the areas where the improvement is required. The next step is the action step; the responsible authority should engage the employees in to this step to make them come out with the plans and suggestions to improve the results. The last step is the review phase, after all the step and implementation of the new actins, after some time there is a need for the review, so the expected results can be matches with the actual results.
Baker, T. and Warren, A., 2016. Conversations at work: promoting a culture of conversation in the changing workplace. Springer.
Bradley, G.L. and Campbell, A.C., 2016. Managing difficult workplace conversations: Goals, strategies, and outcomes. International Journal of Business Communication, 53(4), pp.443-464.
Clark, C.M., 2015. Conversations to inspire and promote a more civil workplace. Am Nurs Today, 10.