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cover of E15 Beyond Words: Finessing Critical Conversations
E15 Beyond Words: Finessing Critical Conversations

E15 Beyond Words: Finessing Critical Conversations

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When people hear 'crucial conversation,' they often cringe in discomfort, fearing conflict and its consequences. This intimidation stems from underlying concerns, including loss of emotions, rejection, and vulnerability. Yet, flipping the conversation reveals a focus on addressing vital issues for personal and professional growth. It also serves as a proactive tool for management, maintaining open communication to rectify errors before they escalate.

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Welcome to CoachonomicsPresents podcast, a part of the ECS network. This is the Master's of Leadership Teachable Moments Series. I'm Laura Perez-Ehrhardt. I'm the CEO of Epiphany Consulting Solutions, a management consultant and executive coach. My guests are Barbara Geising and Daryell Ehrhardt. Daryell is the Director of Ambulatory Operations with Stanford Medicine Children's Health, Lucille Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, a seasoned executive with over 26 direct reports and is known as a leader maker. I love that. Barbara is the CEO of BAG-HR Consulting and has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of human resources. So when people hear the phrase crucial conversation, their initial reaction is to cringe or display a sense of unease. And generally most people are intimidated by it because they may fear stems of underlying concerns and emotions. But most want to avoid conflict because they fear negative consequences, loss of emotions, or maybe even a fear of rejection or feeling vulnerable. However, when we turn the crucial conversation onto its head, it really is about addressing the critical issues essential to employees' personal and professional development. So it's also a way for management to keep the communication pipeline flowing with employees to correct errors before they become an actual significant issue. So Barbara and Daryell, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. Thank you. Absolutely. So Daryell, I want to start with you. You refer to crucial conversations as getting to know you conversations. How do you define crucial conversations and why do you believe that these conversations are essential in the workplace? Thank you, Laura. Yes, I do call crucial conversations as getting to know you for a variety of reasons. The traditional definition of a crucial conversation just in and of itself makes everybody nervous. Our heart rates go faster, our brains start kicking into high drive speeds, and we start sweating and stomachs turn. It's just generally not a good approach when you're trying to deal with a situation that involves an employee that may have a negative outcome depending on how you navigate that conversation. If you think about it as a getting to know you conversation, it's really just a discussion between two individuals, maybe a third depending on the situation, to gain a better understanding of what the issue is or the problem you're trying to solve and finding a win-win resolution or pathway forward for that employee to temper the nerves and prevent people from getting emotionally dug in, resistant to being open to the conversation and developing a better understanding. I often find that there's something going on with an employee that you may not know about. Listening to what's happening with that employee can also provide insight in helping the employee navigate whatever the challenge is that led to the conversation in the first place. Does that sound about right, Barb? Yeah. Often people avoid them because the conversations seem difficult, and so I don't want to have it because it seems difficult, and to your point, your heart rates and everything else, and we attach too much drama to the situation. As leaders, too, and you talked about the employee side, and absolutely you have to think about that, but you also have to think about your side. Is it really an important conversation? If you're putting something off, start thinking about it and scrutinizing your own emotions. Are you having a bad day and maybe you just need an escape goat? Does the issue really require action, and what is the message you really want to convey and what outcome are you looking for? So those are the things you need to kind of step back and rethink so that you are giving the right message and not coming across with emotional response from your end. Right. Exactly. I also kind of put them in two categories, crucial conversations and difficult conversations, and I look at the crucial conversations as two-sided, where you're going to have a conversation and are looking to find improvements in an action or a project or whatever the case might be, whereas difficult are more one-sided, say you are doing a termination or a counseling where the employee really can't affect the outcome when it comes down to that. And the reason I differentiate between the two is it is a slightly different mindset and you need to be aware of that as a leader and go into it knowing if the employee has feedback or not and how that can affect the outcome of the situation. Finding a win-win is very important here, but also most importantly is getting the person to calm down. To get them at a place where they're at ease, that's not easy. You know, I'm coaching others and there's some challenges that have come up with the individual and I have to address them. My job as a coach to get the individual to trust me, to open up. Like you said, Jerry, all the heart palpitations start stirring up. You know, they're nervous. Having the right mindset, to your point, Barbara, from the manager's standpoint is very important where they come in, they need to be grounded, they need to be focused on the outcome. Question for both of you, share a personal experience where this important conversation or crucial conversation directly impacted the employee. What was the outcome of that dialogue? I remember one conversation with an employee who had really been struggling to perform their job. This was an employee who had done a good job in the past. They'd been with us for several years and their performance had started on a downhill slide and we'd had conversations with her and just things weren't getting better. And so the supervisor and I had to have basically a last chance conversation with the employee to say, you know, look, we've got to see some change here. In that conversation, it was really interesting because going into it, I fully expected this was going to be the next to the last conversation. We would have another termination conversation before too long. It was almost visible in the conversation that she felt we heard her struggles and she heard what we were telling her. She heard the message that we were coming across. So that active listening played such an important part in this. So when we walked out of the conversation, it was clear that she knew what we needed and we understood what the problems she was facing and she felt like she'd gotten some more compassion or whatever the case may be there. But she ended up being a star employee again after this conversation and she was with us for many more years and a solid performer. So that was a really good conversation. Yeah. Daryell, what about you? A conversation I had many years ago with an employee, I had done her performance evaluation and it wasn't good. And it was probably my very first crucial conversation. It took me two weeks to build up the nerve to have this conversation. And, of course, you call the employee to the office and then they're on edge. And when I looked at her, I just blurred it out. I said, I'm sorry, but your evaluation sucks. And her face just hit the floor and my heart just died. And I said, you know, here's what we're going to do. I'm going to give you an hour to convince me I'm wrong. And we went through the evaluation and three hours later, we walked away with a very good understanding of each other, what was going on, the challenges that she was experiencing, my frustrations. She walked away being one of my best employees ever. And we both, you know, active listening, understanding our roles and responsibilities, expectations. I can't say this enough even to my own current management team, you really have to set the expectations for the employee so they know what they need to do to not only be successful but feel successful. That has been, I think, my platform for my leadership career for the last 14 years and reflecting on that very conversation. I carry that into conversations like my more recent one where I have an employee who's having a lot of personal difficulties as well but is now on a final written warning. And it's really like explaining the pathway forward for them. They're at a crossroads. Can we go one way which is going to lead to your, like you said, termination conversation or can we take the other path? What can I do to support you to be successful because these are your two outcomes and I need you to commit to which outcome you want to focus on. In that conversation, finding out what are the barriers for that employee and to your point about my own emotions, I desperately want them all to be successful but making sure I'm not frustrated in the conversation as well because that would translate over. So far so good. Laying it out so they know what the consequences are, what the accountability is because I do find in management and leadership there's not a lot of accountability present although people talk about it a lot. I completely agree with that. That's the root of a lot of the problems. We're not clear on our expectations and then we don't hold people accountable and ourselves. We fail to follow through on that. Barbara, listening to your story and the event that took place with this individual, you stated active listening. That is a skill. When it comes to communication, I spend about 80% of my time when I'm with clients talking about communication and active listening. It's literally demonstrating how do I define active listening, what does it look like, what does it sound like. What that tells me is that you and the other individual that were having this conversation with this woman, you took the time to hear the emotion behind what she was saying. That's extremely important in management. That's the kind of conversation that gets the employee to trust you, to break down the barrier when they know that you're actually listening to them and that you're valuing what they have to say. That is a thousand times more valuable than most anything else you can do. But Daryell, absolutely. Employees need to understand what the leader's expectations are. They get blindsided or the leader gets blindsided because they're approached by an employee or employees where we don't understand what your expectations are. They're unclear. That happens often. Rules, boundaries, and expectations. Right, Daryell? And accountability. So this is leading to another question around combative personality. How do you have a critical conversation with someone who is combative or narcissistic? Well, that's easy. I win with your ego. A conversation requires two people. And if you've got one person not engaging, there really is only so much you can do. If you're the manager and you're dealing with an employee who is combative or narcissistic, then you just need to state, here's what I need from you. Do you understand that? And get them to say yes or no. And sometimes that's about as far as you can go with that personality. When it's the flip side and you are dealing with a narcissistic leader as an employee, it is very difficult. And you are more limited in your options there. It would be really easy to say, once the employee sees an issue, they should speak up. And, again, that's easy to say. But you have to be aware of your consequences. You have to get fired. If this really is someone who doesn't want to hear it, they're not going to be receptive. And so you have to decide what outcome you're looking for. And if you don't get that outcome, what are the consequences going to be to that? If you can get a third party, an ally, to work with you to talk to the leader, and that can help sometimes. You definitely don't want to go in at the height of emotions because that is so key. If someone's really frustrated or upset, they're even less likely to hear you on anything. So you want to kind of step back from the issue if you can. And that goes on both sides, whether you're the leader or the employee. You want to make sure you put some distance. As a manager, if you've got employees very upset and there's a situation that you have to deal with immediately, that's where suspension can come in. And I think that's something that we may not use enough, where you suspend the employee for a day or two because the emotions are high and you want to make sure you have a positive outcome and you're not going to be able to deal with it then. If you're dealing, again, with a narcissistic personality, you're somewhat limited. I'm curious, Barbara. Would you describe those narcissistic personalities as individuals who have low self-esteem? That isn't unusual to go hand-in-hand with that by any means. It's kind of interesting because they can also be highly functioning and successful from a career and often in sales and marketing that tends to draw more of that personality type. We often promote people into leadership positions because they're really good at one aspect of their job and not so good in the management leadership standpoint. And I think that comes into play a lot. We have a lot of leaders who should not manage people. I see it all the time. So, Barbara, you made the point that conversation, whether it's someone that's narcissistic, combative, conversation is a two-way highway here. The individual that has called this meeting needs to be very direct with the outcomes and consequences of what the expectation is after that meeting. If there is conflict or you feel as a manager that you're not getting very far with this individual, is definitely having outside mediation. Someone that can help to facilitate the conversation and move it along. It also can help if you focus on the issue at hand and try to become allies with it. This is what we need to accomplish and it doesn't seem to be working well, so how can we work together to make this better? And that kind of plays into the narcissism a little bit because that makes them important and not the problem. The problem is the issue. We're talking about having difficult conversations with someone who is narcissistic or challenging. How does a manager know when it's the right time to have such a discussion? When does someone engage in a crucial conversation? Well, as far as I'm concerned, the second you realize there's an important issue because, again, we tend to put these things off, we don't talk about it, so you come back a week later, well, remember when this happened? I didn't like how you handled this or whatever. Well, I don't remember 10 minutes ago. Talking to me about something I did last week, it's like, I don't remember that. I don't remember how I felt. I don't remember what was going on. So if I come to an employee and something just happened, hey, this just happened, can you explain why you approached it that way? Can you tell me what you were thinking? They're going to have the answers to that and if there was a problem, then you can more easily address that. It's in the moment. It's fresh. You're not coming at them from a negative standpoint and saying, how stupid are you? Why did you mess this up? Hey, explain this. What were you thinking kind of thing? And that is going to be much more likely to be productive than putting off this conversation until, well, I'll just deal with it later. And that's unfortunately what we often do. You can't underestimate the value of real-time feedback. I educate my managers. I have a puppy example. Are you going to correct the puppy peeing on your carpet today or are you going to wait six months and say, bad dog, where the dog's looking at you and going, bad dog what? By correcting real-time, you can keep everybody on the right path like bumper rails. I call it a yellow brick road with bumper rails. Keep everybody going in the same direction because if you wait for some too long, that person could be off in the forest and it's very hard to retrieve that and get them back onto that correct path. And like you, I can't remember ten minutes ago, let alone six months ago. And yet we expect that of our employees when we go back to them a week later because it's been on our mind, it's been bothering us. Oh no, Barbara, I pick up the phone. Absolutely. Now that we're talking about timing, around having these kind of conversations, narcissism, people that are more difficult, unique challenges in organizations often face dealing with leaders, specifically leaders who exhibit narcissistic tendencies. So we propose a tailored executive coaching program designed to elevate crucial conversations and instill confidence in addressing and navigating the complexities associated with leadership traits. I'm going to switch this. How does an employee have this type of conversation with their leader? What are the do's and don'ts in this kind of situation when the employee wants to address their leader and I do have a client that asked me to walk her through having a conversation with her leader who is blocking her from making decisions as an executive. She's going to her senior leader. She wants to start this conversation demonstrating how this individual is a roadblock to her making critical conversations and leading her own team. So how do people have this conversation with their leaders? Yeah, well I would say the first thing you think about is you have to gauge the emotions. If it's a highly volatile situation you're not as likely to be heard. This is a little bit different situation especially when it's an employee going to a leader as opposed to the other way around where you may not be able to step in immediately and talk because you want to protect yourself when it comes to it. So if they're very upset or very emotional for whatever reason you're not going to be heard anyway so you don't want to step back from that. You want to practice what you want to say and consider again what outcome you're looking for because if you're not clear on that you're not going to be able to get your message across and so you do need to think about what is it I want to get across and what outcome am I looking for there but you also want to make sure you're flexible to that outcome because they may bring something you hadn't considered but you also have to be prepared to not realizing any kind of change and what that's going to mean longer term because they may not hear you they may not listen they may not care and you're not going to be as open in that when it comes down to it or you could have something change that's not in your favor and what does that mean when it comes down to it if you have an ally within the company especially someone who is on the same level as the leader or maybe even above the leader that can help in either practicing or maybe bringing them in with you when it comes down to it if you are really getting blocked by a leader and you can't get around it then you need to decide if you want to stay in that situation or not I agree with Barbara if you're approaching this leader from a personal perspective the odds of them listening to you maybe changing their behavior around you or if you're looking for them to help and advocate for you most likely won't happen in my experience if you're regarding certain issues or problems then to a point Barbara made earlier focus on that problem or that issue or task at hand then you're more likely to get them to engage because they'll realize success in that process and narcissistic personalities are really focused on their own success and not the success of others Things that organizations have also been faced with and they're still grappling with is post-pandemic the pandemic changed many things you know, how we connect, interact and engage how we do business in general how different are remote discussions versus face-to-face in this type of critical discussion well I would say it's certainly not as easy when you're not seeing body motions because you pick up on subtle clues when you're in person that you don't necessarily see on video I would strongly recommend you require video in your conversations and I tend to think companies that are working remote should encourage video most of the time when you're having any types of meetings I know some have gone to where everybody's off camera all the time and you lose something with that I think you're a lot more likely to maintain more of a team presence and a culture when you are working with each other at least on video remotely than these like screens it's also easier to be rude and unprofessional if you're not looking at somebody's face you may say things that you wouldn't say to someone in person or again on video so that's another reason to make sure you've got people on video you can also if you're dealing with someone remote it's an important conversation if you live in the same geographic area maybe you meet in a neutral location or come to the office or whatever if that can happen because again that conveys the importance of the conversation and I want to set aside time for you when we do have this discussion one of the other things that drives me nuts is from a leadership perspective if I am having a conversation with you that is important and it could affect your career or your life I don't need to be looking at my phone, looking at my watch I don't need to be clearly distracted and whether you're remote on video or in person that has become so routine to so many people and it does signal this I'm more important than you kind of vibe so as a leader you need to make sure you are putting those things away and fully investing in the individual you're talking to because again if it's important then treat it as such and that can help as well so again that's whether it's on video or in face-to-face situations Very true I prefer face-to-face because it really focuses on the relationship as opposed to video or phone calls but interestingly we're in the Christmas holiday season and I feel a ton of phone calls of people in crisis at different levels and kind of an epiphany I've had over the last few weeks is phone calls the employee tends to be less defensive because they're not looking at me but you have to navigate those calls very carefully and monitoring your tone monitoring the words not being distracted to your point Barbara I have all these screens phones, iPads everything's in 15 different communication modes going on all at the same time but when you're having that conversation with the employee you really just need to drop it all and focus and prepare especially for phone calls I typically will prepare some notes ahead of time to keep the conversation on track focusing on the issue not tearing down the person especially if they're in crisis and letting dead space be. A lot of managers or people I find get nervous with dead space and try to fill it and I'm very comfortable with dead space and will let it just sit there until they respond which then forces them to really think and hopefully open up a little bit so we can have a really good conversation I can tell you from an interview or investigated standpoint blank faces are great I've learned so much information by just being quiet for a minute You can hear the nervousness in that dead space almost their brains are racing almost trying to figure out how to respond because the longer it sits the more nervous they get but it also gives that pause to activate the active listening mode on both sides Both of you hit some really good points What role in your mind does effective communication play in navigating crucial conversations and how can an individual improve their communication skills in high stakes situations First of all if you haven't established some sort of trust going into an important conversation it's a heck of a lot harder to have an active listening situation so you need to be working on trust as soon as you have an employee from the onboarding of the employees forward you need to establish open communications and what that's going to mean and how that looks so that's going to make more difficult conversations easier because you've already kind of got the legwork for that but again if it's an important conversation you want to treat it as such not being distracted making sure you are paying full attention and really listening to the person that's talking to you so that you're addressing the questions they're asking or the things they're bringing up. You also need to think about differences in personalities and cultures and genders. Some people don't make eye contact for instance they're not comfortable with that that does not mean they're not listening to you that's just that individual some people can't speak up in a situation they're not comfortable with it for all kinds of different reasons so again the fact that they're not telling you their feelings or whatever doesn't mean they're not engaged it may just be that person so you need to think about what you need to do to encourage an honest conversation sometimes maybe if you let them write down their thoughts or you give them a synopsis of the things you're going to discuss so they're mentally and emotionally prepared when they walk into the room you do need to think about the differences in the people that you're communicating with before you start that conversation developing trust has got to be a priority for all situations that's going to make a big difference absolutely be clear and concise I've watched a manager recently you know she has something to say but then 15 other things get brought into the mess and you're trying to pick apart which piece is which piece and it's like you're muddling the point why are we here being clear and concise can really develop the kind of outcomes you're looking for from having that conversation in the first place cultural differences are huge especially in areas like the Bay Area preparing ahead of time giving them a synopsis of what the conversation is going to be and allow them you know options and how they want to respond based off their comfort level that in and of itself can build trust be mindful of those nonverbal cues I know we're often coached to not cross our arms signals that were shut off well maybe I'm crossing my arms because it's cold don't judge and keep that open mind and watching your tone at the same time is really crucial in having those kind of open conversations that are needed to ensure the success of both the manager as well as the employee leaders come to me because they want to develop and improve their communication skill sets having a professional coach taking some courses I know that you know when I'm in organizations presenting working with their teams of leaders one of the areas we talk about communication effectiveness that's also a critical part for anybody that is in a high stakes conversation their ability to have that skill set whether it's active listening, reinforcing that they're hearing the other person have that skill set Unseasoned managers and employees often struggle to express themselves during these crucial conversations what advice do you have for someone struggling to find their voice in such moments to build confidence to navigate challenging conversations because not all leaders are very confident they may not have the actual skill sets I know Darielle you had mentioned a really good story earlier about how one of your first times going into having this kind of conversation with an employee you know your mindset and how you came across the good thing is it ended well that was a win win but what advice do you have for someone who does struggle to find their voice I think probably the key is being clear in what you're wanting and because if you can kind of clarify that to yourself as well as the other person that makes a huge difference because a lot of times you might go into a situation just feeling bad about it and just thinking that just didn't go well well what does that mean and what do I want what did I want out of this why did it feel bad and again this is where it comes back to the emotional aspect of it am I really just going off my emotions at the moment or was there a situation I need to deal with a lot of it does take practice so if you are someone who hasn't had to deal with these conversations from a leadership perspective it doesn't come naturally to most people it is very hard for most and even seasoned managers often are really bad about it so I'd love it to only be the new managers that struggle with it but unfortunately managers at all levels of organizations with lots of years of experience still struggle with it too because think it's going to be a hard conversation they don't want to have it they put it off and all these things that they do actually make it worse knowing what you're wanting what you're wanting to accomplish and again as we talked about earlier focusing on the situation hand and not the personality makes a big difference because you don't want to go in and have a personal attack for someone because that's not right that's not what you need that's not the point of this so what is the situational issue and how do you need it to change and what message do you want to come across with that and then also listening to the individual because that's something we aren't very good at as managers often because our way is the best way of course and so if they don't do it the way we do it then obviously it's wrong a very diverse society that we've got now we've got so many opportunities there if we will accept that but that is going to mean sometimes having different outcomes than we expect or different ways of handling things and we do need to step back and think about was this really a problem or was this just a problem to me so and be open for that and that's something new and seasoned managers I hope they can start learning that difference and letting people find their own way and we also need to think about the fact that we've got individuals out there who have different levels of comfort from a societal standpoint and we've got a lot of mental health issues, we've got a lot of autism spectrum, different things people are going to deal with these things differently and that is not a problem that's just a different way of doing it so we've all kind of got to find our way when it comes down to it but it's hard for even seasoned managers What I've found in my profession as a management consultant when I'm coaching these individuals a lot of times it's also when they're uncomfortable is seeking advice of other more seasoned individuals who have experience in having these kind of conversations they are able to practice having these kind of conversations Darielle, what do you say? I tell my managers think of stories Storytelling is a great way to relate to the problem at hand. I use storytelling quite a bit in helping the employee understand that one, I've been through most likely what they're going through at some point in my life and number two it creates something that the employee may be able to relate to as what the problem is Storytelling is not an attack on the individual too so it kind of keeps the tone of the conversation productive Where you're really going to laugh is I'll have a manager write a PIP Not that they're delivering the PIP or the performance improvement plan but it's a structure for them to outline what is the problem, what are the expectations as far as changes that are needed and when are we going to round back and make sure that you're on the right path It's more of a structured approach for the manager to understand how to have that conversation with the employee with kind of a road map or a plan so they don't go in thinking they know what they're going to do and then get all emotional and blab a bunch of nonsense and confuse the situation The third thing is take somebody with you because that person if the conversation starts to derail can be the third party neutral and keep the conversation on point and productive Those are three ways that I help my managers approach difficult conversations especially if it's around behavioral issues because those are the hardest I think for managers to sit and think if this person's not behaving say professionally or is a bully, what are the expected how do you reframe a bully and so I actually have a template that I share with them that they can use to kind of have that conversation with the employee with the expected behaviors and how often are we going to do check-ins to make sure that we're on the right track and this doesn't progress any further down that rabbit hole Absolutely, now that makes perfect sense Part of the problem then if you have that conversation you need to stay on top of it and a lot of times managers start backing off again and you've got to correct it immediately Not a one and done No Having these kind of conversations we had mentioned this earlier you talked about it emotions run high during these kind of conversations how can individuals manage their emotions and create a space for constructive dialogue rather than escalating tension Yeah this is so important and I think this is something we all need to be working on frequently there's so much mental stress in the world these days and we're having more and more emotional issues in society this is a key aspect that I think we all need to be focusing on how do I calm myself down when I get emotional how do I help my staff calm down when they get emotional if anyone's angry or frustrated or tired or overwhelmed they're not as likely to hear what's going on that's when they'll do it because that flip is switched and they're so mad they're going to talk to them now and that's the worst possible time to have those conversations there are certainly issues that have to be immediately addressed maybe some kind of abuse or theft or flagrant violations but you still need to make sure again that you're in control and allow the person to be in control and hopefully you've practiced and given those tools to them in the meantime again I bring up suspension if it's a really volatile situation suspend the employee have them go home for a day or two or whatever works within your organization based on what the issue is but you also need to be talking to your staff about breathing exercises maybe you've got a therapy animal you can bring in journaling reading doing walking meetings I mean there's so many different ways to get a handle on your emotions but you don't wait until you're fully emotional to practice them you need to be practicing them just constantly and again that's for both the staff and the leadership another thing that I think can really help if you think about it being an HR I have gotten to see a lot of fun things and but I have also and I've been doing this for a long time but I've also really realized that the vast majority of us want to do the right thing our intentions are good even when we screw up even if we're having a bad day or whatever remembering that the intentions were good can help calm down the emotions in a situation recently Barbara listened to a podcast about high performing leaders mostly in sports the Tom Brady's if you will he actually had some very good suggestions if you will and my takeaways from that podcast was think of three key anchor words to control your mindset when you enter a conversation use these key words to control your stress response because he was talking about how going from the football field where it's super competitive you know we're out to destroy our enemy to being going home and being a father and being a husband being a grandfather whatever cousin uncle and how do you switch or navigate between one mindset to the other and that's where you use these words to help your brain adjust and refocus in thinking about his suggestions whenever I go into a conversation my key words are be relaxed be open minded be collaborative be respectful and I write it on a post it note where I can see it when I'm having this conversation to keep my mindset in the appropriate place and control my stress response this is something that I've just recently started sharing with my management team as well in handling their emotions when they need to go into a conversation that could be volatile that's great to your point again practicing you need to make sure you're doing that before you get into it I would add shut up and listen because we are not listening yeah shut up and listen for me doesn't work but when I think of words of how to shut up and listen that's where you know it's okay focus in these cases disagreements are natural right you know they're a natural part of any challenging conversation often individuals leverage these moments to foster personal and relationship growth and understanding for me I use disagreements kind of an introspective look at myself am I thinking of the situation in the right way or the problem is my response the right response what can I do differently if I were to come across something like this or similar because every disagreement or every challenge is an opportunity to grow every mistake we make is an opportunity to be better the next time or the next day and it's a great way to build esteem and it's a great way to become better leaders because when I have disagreements with my managers or disagreements with employees the disagreement doesn't have to be the defining factor of our relationship and I think a lot of managers when they have a disagreement with an employee it's like that's it that's all you know I'm going to manage you out we're done and that's really kind of the wrong response because the disagreement is a symptom of something more that may be going on that they're not addressing or even looking at it can be a bit deeper there's nothing wrong with disagreeing you know it's just learning how to have that conversation and knowing how to dig in a little deeper right Barbara yeah and to me this is also where diversity comes in or can come in we're so used to expecting things to be done the way we expect them to be done and that's not always the best thing sometimes we're cutting ourselves off for possibilities or it could be were we clear on our expectations did we give them the tools and the resources they needed what brought us here what's my job or my ownership in this particular situation it's so easy for our first thought to be how they screwed up that's often not the real issue when it comes down to it it's how did we get here and what can we do to either not get here in the future or how can we turn this to our advantage depending on what the situation is I completely agree there as far as what can we learn from this how can we grow we've got to make sure that we are open to that possibility and we also need to remember when people make mistakes or mistakes happen that is such a great way to learn because I absolutely obsess over my mistakes much more than I think about things that I did well I am less likely to repeat those in the future because of that and the same with our staff so we need to encourage that ability to try things so we also want to make sure that we're not cutting that off and making people afraid to do something differently because we have been so clear that we only want things done a certain way and diversity and disagreement is actually a good thing within an organization and we need to remember that as well and this will be music to your ears Barbara when there's a disagreement I come across here's my question did I actively listen did I listen to understand what the problem is and that's where putting the emotions in check also come into play often I found out for me was I clear in what I wanted because I thought I was that doesn't always come across the way I think it should yeah neurology rule 101 what I say I understand so here's maybe 30% of what I said absolutely brilliantly put Darielle leaders benefit immensely from honing crucial conversation skills as it enhances their ability to foster open communication resolve conflicts effectively and build strong relationships within their team these skills empower leaders to navigate challenging situations inspire trust and promote a positive work culture so by mastering the art of crucial conversations leaders can create environments where ideas flow freely diverse perspectives are valued and collective problem solving thrives effective communication skills such as active listening ultimately contribute to enhance team collaboration improve decision making processes and increased organizational success positioning leaders as effective communicators and catalyst for positive change Darielle and Barbara I've thoroughly enjoyed our insightful discussion on navigating the particulars of crucial conversation in the workplace with both of you mastery professional insights tactics and approaches shared with our listeners have been truly valuable I want to thank you both for contributing to such meaningful conversation. Thank you appreciate it. Thank you. That's it for this episode of coachonomics presents if you're interested in being a guest or you're a subject matter expert please go to my website www.epiphanyconsulting solutions.com and submit your request on the let's chat link you can also find me on LinkedIn under Laura Perez Earhart or my website epiphanyconsulting solutions we hope the content and conversation will give you sparks of inspiration if you loved and learned from the show pay it forward and share my podcast with your colleagues and friends I'm Laura Perez Earhart until next time stay safe and live well

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