Difficult conversations in the workplace are essential to good leadership and effective management.


Having difficult conversations in the workplace.
  • Difficult conversations are crucial in the workplace.
  • Sensitivity and respect are key to having effective conversations.
  • Planning and preparation are essential.
  • Active listening is important.
  • Effective communication is necessary.
  • Difficult conversations present an opportunity for growth and development.
  • They can lead to positive change and strengthen relationships.
  • Organizations can provide training and support.
  • A culture of open communication can make conversations easier.
  • Handling difficult conversations effectively helps to maintain a positive work environment.


    APR 2015 Why Every Military Leadership Course Should Include A Lesson On Difficult Conversations - Task & Purpose (

    Task and Purpose - Media Bias/Fact Check (    MBFC Credibility Rating: HIGH CREDIBILITY
    • Difficult conversations become easier when we shift our mindset from telling to learning.
    • Difficult conversations are opportunities to gain perspective and understand.
    • Difficult conversations help us manage problems going forward.
    • Difficult conversations become opportunities to connect with others.
    • Anxiety, fear, dread, anger, and self-doubt are emotions attached to difficult conversations.
    • The main idea to have a learning conversation is to shift our mindset from having a difficult conversation.
    • We should focus on asking questions to listen, understand, and acknowledge the other person's point of view.
    • Hard conversations become more fruitful if we shift our mindsets as leaders.
    • When we have a learning mindset, we connect with others.
    • Connection is an incredibly powerful tool for leaders.

    Jan 2015 How to Handle Difficult Conversations at Work (

    Harvard Business Review - Media Bias/Fact Check (   MBFC Credibility Rating: HIGH CREDIBILITY
    Major Points:
    • Change your mindset and frame the conversation positively to view it as constructive and not negative.
    • Take regular breaks and practice mindful breathing to stay calm and centered.
    • Plan what you want to say with notes and key points, but don't script the conversation as it needs to be flexible.
    • Acknowledge your counterpart's perspective, show that you care and express your interest in understanding how the other person feels.
    • Be compassionate, and come from a place of empathy, but don't emote and don't play the victim.
    • Slow down and listen, and defuse negative emotions by slowing your pace and pausing before responding.
    • Give something back if possible, such as a strong recommendation or alternative options.

    Sep 2021 How to Make Difficult Conversations at Work Meaningful and Effective - Inc. Australia (

    Inc. Magazine - Media Bias/Fact Check (     MBFC Credibility Rating: HIGH CREDIBILITY
    Major Points:
    • Build confidence by trusting yourself and the other party.
    • Find clarity by making your point clearly and listening.
    • Demonstrate compassion by being empathetic and understanding.
    • Demonstrate curiosity by asking questions rather than shutting down.
    • Find compromise and earn respect by respecting others.
    • Show credibility, as your word is only as good as your actions.
    • Display courage by navigating the obstacles despite fear.
    • Solidify your purpose at work to build confidence.
    • Practice your message ahead of time to make your point clear.
    • Seek common ground and aim for a "win-win" outcome.

    Oct 2021 How To Handle Difficult Conversations At Work (

    Forbes - Media Bias/Fact Check (     MBFC Credibility Rating: HIGH CREDIBILITY
    • Major Points:
    • Don't wait to have difficult conversations at work.
    • Change your mindset and approach it as a normal office conversation.
    • Practice having difficult conversations regularly.
    • Prepare for the conversation beforehand.
    • Manage your emotions and keep a professional tone.
    • Be empathetic and give the other person time to process their emotions.
    • Clearly explain why you're having the conversation.
    • Brainstorm together to find a solution.
    • Listen to the other person's thoughts and bring suggestions to the table.
    • Make sure there is an action plan in place moving forward.

    Aug 2022 How to Have Difficult Conversations with Employees ( How to Have Difficult Conversations with Employees (

    Harvard Business Review - Media Bias/Fact Check (    MBFC Credibility Rating: HIGH CREDIBILITY
    Major Points:
    • Over 80% of employees avoid hard conversations at work, which can lead to resentment and disengagement in the team.
    • Building trust with employees helps make hard conversations easier.
    • Difficult conversations can be divided into three layers: what happened, how we feel about what happened, and how the incident threatens each person's identity.
    • Actively listening and understanding where the other person is coming from is crucial during hard conversations.
    • Speaking in specifics and focusing on facts and examples can help avoid personal biases creeping into the conversation.
    • Brainstorming solutions together can lead to a better understanding and stronger solutions to the problem.
    • Avoiding hard conversations can make them even more difficult in the long run.
    • Emotional intelligence and projecting warmth and competence can help build trust and understanding with employees.
    • Acknowledging your role in the situation can create a safe space for the other person to share their perspective.
    • Avoiding judgment and focusing on finding common ground can make hard conversations more productive.

    3 ways leaders can better prepare for difficult workplace talks (

    Fast Company Magazine - Media Bias/Fact Check (    MBFC Credibility Rating: HIGH CREDIBILITY
    Major Points:
    Here are ten short bullet points on three ways leaders can better prepare for difficult workplace talks:
    • Be present and welcome hard conversations.
    • Enact radical preparation by building foundational “Home Base” points and anticipating potential questions.
    • Take extreme ownership by using “I” statements to express feelings and perspectives.
    • Foster an atmosphere for constructive discourse to create a space that is psychologically safe and empowers each person to openly debate ideas.
    • Embrace technology to meaningfully augment expertise in handling difficult times.
    • Use AI tools like to identify high-value questions and OpenAI's ChatGPT to formulate thoughts and create difficult questions for “Red Line” drills.
    • Microsoft’s integration of ChatGPT into their Office suite will foster a more seamless workflow to rapidly generate content.
    • Leadership teams should ultimately be responsible for the final curation and dispatch of information.
    • Difficult conversations emphasize the need for both preparation and understanding.
    • Being genuine, relatable, trustworthy, and authentic is essential when delivering information during challenging situations.