10 Ways To Have A Difficult Leadership Conversation And Succeed

Leaders play a vital role in guiding, motivating and directing their team members to achieve common goals and objectives. However, leadership is not always easy and leaders are often faced with difficult conversations they must have. In order to be an effective leader, it’s important to learn how to stay in control during these emotionally challenging conversations.

Here are ten ways to have a difficult leadership conversation and succeed:

Be strategic about time and place: As a leader, it’s important to be strategic about the timing and location of difficult conversations. Planning the timing and location of these conversations can help ensure that you are at your best and able to handle the emotions that come with them. Consider doing difficult conversations outside while walking to take advantage of the benefits of movement.

Validate difficult emotions early: As a leader, it’s important to recognize and accept difficult emotions, rather than trying to solve or avoid them, to reduce emotional intensity and tension. Difficult emotions, while uncomfortable, are not dangerous.

Criticize behavior, not character When addressing problematic behavior as a leader, it’s important to focus on specific actions rather than making general, negative character judgments. This approach can help prevent the conversation from becoming personal and defensive.

Use “I” statements: When expressing your own thoughts and feelings as a leader, it’s important to use “I” statements to take responsibility for your own perspective. This can make it easier for the other person to hear and understand your perspective.

Ask open-ended questions As a leader, it’s important to ask open-ended questions that encourage the other person to share their perspective and thoughts. This can help to foster understanding and create a more productive conversation.

Avoid interrupting: As a leader, it’s important to allow the other person to fully express their thoughts and feelings without interrupting. Interrupting can come across as dismissive or disrespectful and can make the conversation more difficult.

Practice active listening: As a leader, it’s important to show that you are actively listening by making eye contact, nodding, and repeating back what the other person has said. This can help to build trust and understanding between the two of you.

Take a break: If the conversation as a leader becomes too emotionally charged, it’s important to take a break and come back to it later. This can help you to regain control of your emotions and approach the conversation with a clearer mind.

Focus on solutions: As a leader, it’s important to focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on problems and negative emotions. This can help to turn the conversation into a more productive and positive one.

Follow up: After the conversation it’s important to follow up with the other person to ensure that any agreements or solutions are being implemented. This can help to ensure that the conversation was effective and that progress is being made.

In conclusion, as a leader, it’s crucial to approach difficult conversations strategically. By effectively navigating these conversations, leaders can build trust, foster understanding, and find solutions that can lead to progress.

Lead From Within: Difficult conversations are a part of every leadership journey, but with the right tools and mindset, they can become opportunities for growth and success.


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The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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