The Mental Mindset For Difficult Conversations

As a leader, Ben knew he needed to address Bob’s abrasive behavior towards co-workers, but found every reason to avoid it. He anticipated Bob being defensive instead of taking responsibility for his behavior and the impact on the work culture.

Perhaps you have a “Bob” in your work setting that you need to have an important conversation with. Prepare yourself in advance by going into the conversation with the mindset of the following three qualities:

Calm –

Set the intention, to approach the conversation with Bob prepared, focused, and grounded in the company’s core values, as well as your role as a leader. Remember your responsibility as a leader is to not only deliver business results, it is also staff development. If you present as calm and clear-minded you will more likely enlist Bob’s cooperation and for him to sense you care about helping him to be successful.

Composed –

The word composed implies a sense of self-control and poise. Even if you don’t like what Bob is saying or the direction of the conversation, remain levelheaded in order to hear beyond Bob’s words as to what is going on beyond the surface. Bob may try to blame other’s for his actions. By staying composed, you will keep the conversation focused on his behavior as unacceptable conduct and performance – not others.

Civil –

Even if and especially if you don’t like Bob or agree with him, it is essential to remain civil. Civility is remaining polite and courteous, despite Bob’s response and behavior. As one human being to another, civility conveys respect and regard.

While being calm, composed, and civil should be part of every human encounter, it is difficult to do when the other person is disrespectful and doesn’t take responsibility for their actions. This is when it is especially important to remember you are not responsible for other’s actions, only your own. Take responsibility for your part.

When your actions exhibit with these three qualities of your mindset, you are helping the other person’s brain to be more receptive and not perceive you as a threat.

Make the Conscious Choice to address challenging conversations calm, composed, and civil and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome

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