Finding the right words in awkward situations

5-step approach for tackling prickly conversations with employees
By Danielle Harder
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/31/2011

As a leadership and communications expert, Merge Gupta-Sunderji thought she had heard it all. But when her Calgary-based firm asked clients about the most difficult conversations they’ve had with employees (see sidebar on page 24), she was admittedly surprised.

Take, for example, the female manager who had to talk to a male employee about continually grabbing himself in his private area during meetings. The manager started by showing him Michael Jackson videos and footage of baseball players and asking, “What do you have in common with these guys?”

He didn’t know so, eventually, the manager had to be more direct. It turns out he was a former baseball player and completely unaware of either his offensive habit or its impact on co-workers.