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How to Have Difficult Conversations When You Don't Like Conflict

Listen and observe

Focus on what you’re hearing, not what you’re saying. Genuine attention and neutrality encourage people to elaborate.

You don’t actually need to talk that much during a difficult conversation. Instead, learn to listen, reflect and observe.

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How to Have Difficult Conversations When You Don't Like Conflict

How to Have Difficult Conversations When You Don't Like Conflict

https://hbr.org/2017/05/how-to-have-difficult-conversations-when-you-dont-like-conflict

hbr.org

5

Key Ideas

Begin from a place of curiosity

Lean into the conversation from a place of curiosity and respect (for yourself and the other person). 

Even when the subject of the conversation is difficult, the interaction can remain mutually supportive. Respect the other person’s point of view, and expect them to respect yours.

Listen and observe

Focus on what you’re hearing, not what you’re saying. Genuine attention and neutrality encourage people to elaborate.

You don’t actually need to talk that much during a difficult conversation. Instead, learn to listen, reflect and observe.

Be direct

Address uncomfortable situations head-on by getting right to the point.

Foster an honest and respectful discussion and make sure both parties speak about the details of an issue. 

Don’t put it off

Don't put off a conversation for some ideal future time, when it can be more easily dealt with.

Take some time to cool down and plan the general outline of the outcome you desire. But then have the conversation, and make a plan to move on. 

Expect a positive outcome

Focus on the long-term gains that the conversation will create and you will shift your inner dialogue to a more constructive place. 

This will build your confidence to approach the coworker who constantly criticizes and complains or the subordinate who keeps underperforming.

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