Shweta Sharma on How to Navigate Difficult Discussions at Work
More often than not, we are faced with a situation where we have to engage in a discussion that we are not comfortable with. Even more so, when it’s with our bosses. There will be a thousand problems that you’d rather solve than bear that conversation. The difficulty lies not with the question you want to discuss, but how to hold the exchange in a healthy manner and leave with a constructive result.
Narrowing it down to the basics, we suggest a pathway that you can follow to have a suitable dialogue with your superiors and depart with an outcome:
Beginning the Dialogue
First and foremost, your aim is to be prepared and point at the facts and instances. For example, if you overachieved a goal that was set for your team or you, bring up the numbers and your contribution. You should also be prepared to explain the different projects you’ve handled that helped the company’s performance. If your discussion is regarding another co-worker, bring out the different instances where you’ve had issues. Your aim is to focus on providing references that will give your senior the complete picture.
Channeling the Discussion
The next step revolves around the reaction you receive after bringing up the topic in hand. If you receive a positive reaction, you’re good to go. Whereas, a negative reaction, can be challenging. To channelize a negative reaction, you can suggest a change or environment. You can suggest going for a coffee together, mainly to create a gap, to talk about the topic in hand.
If you’ve received a very aggressive reaction, you should take a step back and suggest to continue the discussion at a later stage or time.
Closing the interchange
Based on the reaction you’ve got, it is essential that you keep your cool. Instead of completely closing the topic, take the approach of offering more information. For example, you can suggest that you’ll be providing more input in the next meeting. Maybe involve another colleague who’s related to the project. Another approach that can take is to ask for your senior’s opinion. In this way, your senior would also be accountable for the steps you take.
In conclusion, the idea is to bring forth your requirements to the table and not close the discussion entirely, in case of a negative reaction. The foremost step you should take is to be prepared with facts, examples and the benefits/drawbacks. In case of a negative reaction, you should either postpone the discussion or create a gap in the environment to break the tension. You can even ask for their inputs to achieve your goals. Though it’s easier said than done, all you can do is test the waters and plunge!
Source: DejaVu Blog
Shweta Sharma is the Co-founder Ombré Lane. She has over 12 years of experience in e-commerce, retail and management consulting. The views expressed in the coloumn are author’s own.