Having those tough conversations

HR professionals need to lead the way during challenging conflicts
By Heather Swartz and Rick Russell
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/18/2016

How often do people say they wish they didn’t have to deal with conflict, even when it’s part of their job? They wait and hope the problem will just go away. They express concern that they didn’t handle a tough conversation well the last time. They worry they will make the situation worse.

HR professionals are often called upon to have, and coach others to have, difficult and challenging conversations with employees and managers. If people are choosing not to have a conversation, have them reflect on the following: Is the certainty of silence triumphing over the uncertainty of speaking up? Are they sending out negative signals? Are they convinced they are helpless? Have they confused the question of whether the conversation will be difficult with the question of whether or not they should have it? If so, they’re not speaking up when they should be.

Conversations about unsatisfactory performance, inappropriate conduct or compensation are hard to talk about because they: