Feedback. Conflict. Accountability.
Practical tools for getting better at work’s toughest conversations
In our experience working with thousands of employees, managers, leaders and teams at dozens of organizations over the course of the past decade, one type of workplace interaction has emerged as one of the most stressful aspects of work for most people: difficult conversations.
How do you give a colleague feedback in a way where they might improve instead of retaliating? How do you work out a disagreement with another group or outside entity while reducing tensions and ensuring all parties get what they need? How do you hold an employee, contractor, or peer accountable for following through instead of placing blame or passing the buck?
Feedback, conflict, and accountability conversations are tough for a reason: most of us don’t want to increase tensions, or damage a relationship. We don’t want to bring out the hammer, and yet we also don’t want to skirt the edges with a feather duster when a more direct approach may be required to get what we need so we can get our work done, and be happier doing it.
Over the past decade, we’ve coached and trained thousands of employees, managers, and leaders to improve in these areas. To help you hone your skills, we’ve distilled our methods into three concise and practical toolkits.
Giving critical feedback can be tough: we don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings or risk retaliation. Yet feedback is important: it helps others improve, helps us get what we need, and done right, it can help build trust and strengthen relationships. Use these four tools to keep your message clear, constructive, and more likely to be received.
Most of us avoid conflict; the consequences can be uncomfortable at best and disastrous at worst. So how do we leverage the power of conflict while learning to avoid the very real pitfalls it presents? Learn our practical approach for turning conflict from a fight to win into a problem to solve, and you can work together for a solution that helps all parties.
Accountability is one of the hallmarks of any great team or organization. Without it, we get mired in wasted time, lost opportunities, and resentment. So what is a nice person to do when someone else isn’t following through? Avoid the main mistakes people make when having accountability conversations and focus on four key tools instead.
While there are some battles not worth fighting, we’ve found that others can be resolved in often unexpected ways. All it takes is a willingness to engage and a few concrete skills to back it up.
Difficult conversations take practice: you’ll learn a lot more by doing than by reading. Get in touch if you’d like to explore how our training, coaching, and digital toolkits can help you and your colleagues improve your communication culture, so you can all get more done and feel more fulfilled doing it.