Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Handling Difficult Situations at Work

Posted on: May 18, 2011

Handling tricky situations at work can certainly be testing – whether it be that you are leaving, pregnant or being bullied, here are our tips to having that difficult conversation with your boss.

 Before any discussion, make an appointment, be prepared, and remain objective.  Jumping in with no warning puts your boss on the back foot and on the defensive.  Being emotional creates upset and is unprofessional.  Say that you’d like to meet to discuss an issue of importance and ask when would be convenient for them to speak.

 Know what you’re going to say.  Give yourself no more than 3 main points that you want to cover – anymore and your message will become muddied.

 Keep your emotions out of the conversation.  Stay objective.  If you struggle with that, pretend you’re speaking on behalf of someone other than yourself.  Don’t swear or use vulgar language.  Speak respectfully and show you appreciate how your decision might impact the business and your boss’s position.  Offer to help however best you can.

 Come in with a soft entry.  If you’re uncomfortable with what you have to say, share that with the person you’re speaking with.  Keep your message straightforward and simple.  Don’t beat around the bush.  Always have these conversations face to face.  It shows you respect your boss’ position.

 No matter how tempted you may be, don’t confide in co-workers or colleagues before the conversation, as information may leak.  If you must discuss the issue with someone, speak to a neutral outside source.  Do NOT get into a complaint session with your co-workers before your conversation. 

 Think through your situation and how your boss might respond.  Be prepared, direct and polite.  At the end of all conversations, smile, shake hands, and thank your boss.

 Remember:  your reputation relies on how you manage these conversations.  Burn no bridges.  Be careful and considerate.  Be positive and generous.  Be a class act.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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