4 Ways To Navigate Crucial Conversations Well

Addressing the elephant in the room?

Jeff’s struggle to juggle crucial conversations.

Jeff receives objections from team mates about the work environment. Top management has chosen to tighten the rules during the recovery phase of the pandemic with their business only now just boosting up.

Juggling between the expectations of his top management and the demands of his team mates is a draining task. The conflict will appear manageable for a while, however over time quick fixes will eventually cease to work. Trust deficit appears to surface. No matter how difficult a situation is, the support and stakeholders is the key ingredients to the ease of any leader.

Ability to hold critical conversations with honesty and community change will craft a perfect curve of growth for any leader. 

What are crucial conversations?

Crucial conversations are described as discourse with high stakes and emotions with a plateau of contradicting opinions from different people.

 “Often these conversations are avoided because the individual does not have the skills to cope with difficulties they raise. The subsequent results are no change and no improvement.”

Examples of some situations that might require a crucial conversations

  • Performance discussions with your employees that have not been doing well at work.
  • Approaching your managers about reservations and mistrust. 
  • Talking to family and friends about upsetting behaviour.
  • Asking for a pay raise.
  • Here are four ways you can navigate crucial conversations more efficiently:

    1) Create a safe environment


    Stakes are at their peak, emotions are running high and all opinions need to be heard fairly. It is imperative to create a healthy and safe environment for everyone to be able to express themselves honestly. You should always pay attention to the verbal and physical cues. Bring the conversation back to safety when you sense volatility and discomfort from the parties involved.

    2) Lead with facts and the truth

    Use hard facts to guide you when engaging in crucial conversations.

    “Separate your facts from stories. It sounds easy, but it’s helpful to write these down. A fact is something that cannot be interpreted. A story can be debated.”

    3) Identify and state the specific issue 

    Avoid dealing with multiple issues at once. State the specific issues, concerns or problems. Ensure that parties involved are clear about the agenda, direction of discussion – to be able to have a constructive conversation.

    4) Coming to a mutual agreement

    All critical conversations should end with a summary of all points of discussion and a mutual agreement towards a workable solution. As well as the expression of appreciation for the willingness to hold a discourse to better the current situation. 

    To read our previous article on “Life After MCO”: https://blog.trainocate.com/life-after-mco-3-steps-to-engage-virtual-teams-2/

    Trainocate Malaysia has carefully curated 8 programs to help your people and your organisation under the Mind and the People program. This includes Mastering the Art of Critical Conversations.

    To find out more: https://trainocate.com/my/highlights/softskills-the-mind-and-the-people-programs-

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