Most people try to avoid conflict. However, when it comes to talking about difficult issues in the workplace, avoiding conflict can actually make the problem worse. Having these conversations can help improve involved employees’ work and home lives. Unfortunately, many people avoid talking about difficult issues because they don’t know how to do so. Fearing that they might hurt their relationships or negatively affect their work environment, many people avoid talking about difficult issues. However, this can lead to resentment and create more rifts between people. This guide will teach you how to talk about difficult issues in the workplace in a way that’s easy to understand.

Reframe the Situation

If you’re getting ready to talk about a difficult issue, avoid labeling it as a difficult situation. Instead, try talking about it in a more positive manner. For instance, instead of criticizing performance, you’re discussing developing a solution that will benefit both you and your employee. A good conversation should be focused on the positive instead of the negative.

Consider Other Sides of the Story

A good conversation often feels difficult because people are stuck in their own perspectives. When we have a fix in mind, we tend to avoid hearing other people’s ideas and solutions. Instead, try asking the other person how they feel about the situation. Before you start talking about the issue, try to get to a place where you’re interested in the other person’s perspective. This will help you develop a deeper understanding of their situation.

Approach Calmly

Being able to handle difficult conversations calmly is very important because it allows you to focus on the positive and avoid getting distracted. For instance, taking breaks throughout the day can help you practice mindful breathing. It can also help you absorb any blows that come your way. If a colleague brings up an issue that could lead to a difficult conversation, try taking a break from work to gather thoughts before engaging in a conversation.

Plan for Resolution with an Open Mind

Having an agenda can make a difficult conversation feel one-sided. However, before you start the discussion, it’s important to know the other person’s perspective and develop a plan to reach an understanding. Having an understanding of the other person’s experience can help you reach a more balanced and effective solution. Be flexible and willing to discuss multiple resolutions.

Don’t Write a Script

Before you start the conversation, it’s important that you have a plan for what you’re going to say. However, having a script can make the conversation feel impersonal and prevent you from developing effective solutions. It’s also very unlikely that the exchange will go according to your plan. For instance, if the other person doesn’t know the lines, the exchange becomes awkward. Instead, try developing a strategy that’s flexible and can include a variety of possible responses.

Be a Good Listener

We tend to rehearse our conversations in our heads before we actually speak. However, this can prevent us from being able to listen to the other person’s perspective. Instead, try being focused on the details of the conversation and asking the other person questions. Try to avoid thinking about your own response while the other person is talking. Being able to actively listen can help you find common ground. Having a coach can also help you develop your listening skills.