No one looks forward to having a tough conversation with their boss, whether about the skilled labor crisis, your construction salary, or something else. However, you can’t put off those tough conversations indefinitely. Learn some strategies to make it easier to get through them.
Examples of Tough Conversations
Any conversation can be hard for some people, even if it is not for others. The following are some of the discussions and situations commonly considered challenging:
- You disagree with negative feedback.
- Your boss limits your progress by micromanaging.
- Your work style and your boss’s management style aren’t compatible.
- You made a mistake and need to correct it.
- You need extra assistance.
- You want a raise.
- You are quitting.
With that in mind, take a look at some advice.
Breathe Before Tough Conversations
Whether you are having a tough conversation with your boss, a coworker, or a construction recruiter, take some time to breathe and try to force yourself to relax beforehand. If the conversation is not the first thing in the morning, make it a point to stop and breathe mindfully during the day at various points. You can also do this right before the conversation itself.
Don’t Think of It As a Tough Conversation
Although this is easier said than done, it can help if you try to look at the conversation positively or at least not a “tough” or “bad” conversation.
For example, assume something went wrong at work, and a project did not go as well as you had hoped. Try thinking of it as a way to plan on future solutions and improvements instead of focusing on your failures.
Plan Ahead for Tough Conversations — But Not Too Much
It can help if you have a basic plan before talking to your boss about the tough issues. The key here is to have a good idea of what points you want to convey without being too specific. Planning too much will likely lead to frustration as the conversation is unlikely to go exactly how you expect.
Bring Documentation to the Tough Conversation When Relevant
Depending on the type of tough conversation you are about to have, consider bringing along some documentation. These notes can help you remember what points you want to cover, and it will also give you supporting evidence for your side.
In the example of a project that didn’t go as well as planned, you could bring documents showing that you know what went wrong. Maybe you have a chart that shows why the plan didn’t work. Or maybe you have an email showing someone else taking responsibility for the task that didn’t go well.
Be Honest During Tough Conversations
You should always do your best to be honest with your boss during difficult conversations. However, do so without being obnoxious. If you are reporting a concern about a coworker, be honest about why you have that concern without placing blame.
Come to an Agreement After Tough Conversations
Ideally, you want to agree with your boss in terms of what actions to take next by the end of the conversation. This will give you a plan for the future and concrete actions to take.
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