5 Tips for Tough Conversations at Work

One of my weak spots as a leader is having corrective conversations with people. Whenever I know I have to have one a fear monster arises within me that makes me want to ignore the problem and avoid a confrontation. But following through on these situations is essential. It helps me develop the disciplinary edge that all great leaders have in some form.

Here are 5 things I am learning about these conversations:

1. Have them as quickly as possible - don't put them off, it just raises the chance you'll end up avoiding them in the end
2. Have a plan - don't have a hard conversation off the cuff, think through what you want to say and any possible objections the other person might have
3. Make sure you are calm it is best to take a brief period to let the emotions settle so you can sort out what you want to focus on the most
4. Be consistent with your expectations - make sure the same offenses are dealt with equally among all the people you manage so you cannot be accused of favoritism
5. Focus on positives and strengths first - start out the conversation praising the person for the things they are doing well and how much you value them, then let them know what needs to change