10 Ways to Stay Calm In Difficult Leadership Conversations

It’s inevitable that every leader will encounter difficult conversations that will test their leadership. However, it’s important to remain calm in these situations in order to think clearly and respond responsibly.

Here are ten ways to stay calm in difficult leadership conversations, so that you can handle any difficult situation with poise and professionalism:

Take a deep breath: The power of deep breathing can’t be understated. It helps to slow your heart rate, decrease stress, and clear your mind.

Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and aware of your thoughts and feelings. Regular mindfulness practice can help you stay calm in the face of stress and adversity.

Prepare beforehand: Prepare for difficult conversations by thinking about what you want to say, anticipating the other person’s reactions, and having counterarguments ready.

Use “I” statements: Instead of accusing the other person, use “I” statements to express your feelings, concerns, and needs. It can help defuse the tension and make the conversation more productive.

Be open to feedback: Be open to feedback and actively listen to the other person’s perspective. This can help you understand where they’re coming from and find common ground.

Remain calm and composed: Maintain a calm, composed and professional demeanor, even in the face of provocation. This can help to de-escalate a tense situation.

Be assertive, not aggressive: Stand up for yourself and assert your position, but do so in a calm and controlled manner. Avoid becoming aggressive or confrontational.

Use humor: Humor can be a powerful tool to lighten the mood and defuse tension. Use it sparingly and appropriately, but don’t be afraid to use it when it feels natural.

Take a break: If things are becoming too heated, take a break. Give yourself and the other person some time to cool down and come back to the conversation later.

Reflect afterwards: After the conversation, take some time to reflect on what went well, and what you could have done differently. This will help you prepare for future difficult conversations.

Bottom line, difficult conversations are a part of any leadership role, but with the right mindset and strategies, you can stay calm and composed in any situation. By following these tips, you’ll be better equipped to handle difficult conversations and make better decisions as a leader.

Lead From Within: Staying calm in the face of adversity is the mark of a true leader.


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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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