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  • Crucial Conversations

    2017 Employee Engagement & Development Department of Human Resources

  • Crucial Conversations

    Best Practice Strategies for

    Resolving Issues in the Workplace

    January 26, 2017

    Agenda

    • Welcome & Introductions

    • Warm-up Activity

    • Crucial/Difficult Conversation Overview

    • Preparing for the Conversation

    • Steps for a Successful Outcome

    – Small Group Activity – Various Scenarios

    • Closing the Conversation

    • Some Additional Strategies

    Employee Engagement & Development - Department of Human Resources 1

  • Warm-up Activity

    • What types of issues/situations may lead to

    difficult conversations in the workplace?

    • From your perspective, what factors make these

    conversations difficult?

    What Makes a Conversation

    Crucial/Difficult?

    • Conversations we find hard to talk about with

    another person:

    – Emotions are high – Stakes are high and – There are opposing opinions involved

    • We may be concerned about:

    – The uncertainty of the outcome

    – Impact on the relationship – Power dynamics

    Image source - https://i0.wp.com/joshuareich.org/wp-

    content/uploads/2014/09/book3.jpg

    Employee Engagement & Development - Department of Human Resources 2

  • Why Is It Important To Have These

    Conversations?

    Managed Conflict Unmanaged Conflict

     Strengthens relationships and

    promotes teamwork

     Encourages open communication

    and co-operative problem solving

     Increases productivity

     Deals with real issues and

    concentrates on win-win solutions

     Makes allies and diffuses anger

     Airs all sides of an issue in a

    positive, supportive environment

     Focuses towards results

     Damages relationships and

    discourages co-operation

     Results in defensiveness and

    hidden agendas

     Wastes time and resources

     Focuses on fault-finding and

    blaming

     Creates enemies and hard feelings

     Is frustrating, stress producing and

    energy draining

     Is often loud, hostile and chaotic

    Why Is It Important To Have These

    Conversations?

    • Provides an opportunity for all parties to have a

    better understanding of each other's

    perspectives/interests.

    • Helps to identify opportunities for enhancing the

    working relationship.

    • When an issue is ignored or left unresolved:

    – it can have a negative effect on not only the parties

    involved but others within the department/institution.

    – often results in increased stress, anxiety, lower morale, decreased job satisfaction and strained working relationships.

    Employee Engagement & Development - Department of Human Resources 3

  • What Do We Typically Do When

    Confronted With These Situations?

    • Avoid them

    • Face them and handle them poorly

    • Face them and handle them well Our goal for today’s

    session

    Ingredients of Difficult

    Conversations

    Differing Perceptions

    Assumptions About Intent

    Feelings Blame

    Employee Engagement & Development - Department of Human Resources 4

  • Why Do These Conversations

    Tend To Fail?

    • We are not prepared. • Emotions take over. • Body language sends negative signals.

    Preparing For The Conversation

    We Have to Talk…

    Employee Engagement & Development - Department of Human Resources 5

  • Don’t Rush

    • Do not engage in a conversation with your

    colleague when you are angry.

    • Being angry impacts your ability to use rational,

    problem-solving skills.

    • Take the time to cool down, reflect on the

    situation at hand and identify actions for moving

    forward.

    Analyze the Situation

    • Determine the issue(s) from your perspective

    and the other person's perspective.

    • Determine your and the other person’s interests

    (needs, fears, wants, concerns about the issue).

    • Determine whether or not this is a conversation

    worth having.

    – Is there a more effective way to address the issue?

    – Should you just let it go because the issue is not

    important enough? Or the risks are greater than any

    possible gain?

    Employee Engagement & Development - Department of Human Resources 6

  • Questions to Consider

    • What do you hope to achieve by having this

    conversation?

    • What assumptions are you making about the

    person’s intentions/behaviours?

    • What is your perception of the situation?

    • How would the other person interpret the

    situation?

    • What are your needs and fears related to the

    situation and the conversation?

    • What are the needs of the other person?

    Questions to Consider

    • Have you contributed to the situation? If yes,

    how?

    • What might be some examples of options to

    explore to solve the situation at hand?

    • What “buttons” of yours are being pushed?

    • Does your attitude towards the conversation

    influence your perception of it? If so, how?

    Employee Engagement & Development - Department of Human Resources 7

  • Work on Yourself

    • In order for the conversation to be effective, you

    will need to stay in charge of:

    – Yourself

    – Your purpose

    – Your emotional energy

    • Identify strategies for keeping a calm and

    centered state throughout the conversation.

    Steps For A Successful

    Outcome

    We Need to Talk

    Employee Engagement & Development - Department of Human Resources 8

  • Four Steps

    Inquiry

    Acknowledgement

    Advocacy

    Problem Solve

    Step 1 – Opening & Inquiry

    • Make it safe to talk.

    – Embrace a mutual purpose

    – Offer mutual respect

    • Describe the purpose (mutual understanding,

    problem solving).

    • Talk about the need to work together to

    determine how to move forward.

    • Focus on contribution not blame.

    Employee Engagement & Development - Department of Human Resources 9

  • How do I Begin the Conversation?

    Examples:

    • I have something I would like to discuss with you

    that I think will help us work together more

    effectively.

    • I think we have different perceptions about….. I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

    • I would like to talk about……… I think we may

    have different ideas about how to……..

    Step 1 - Inquiry

    • Share your facts and tell your story.

    – What you observed the other person say/do (actions)

    – How that felt (impact)

    – The assumptions about intentions (label them as

    assumptions)

    Example:

    “I felt attacked when you criticized my project in the team

    meeting. Because you did not share them with me before, I

    I assumed you wanted to humiliate me in front of the

    group.”

    Employee Engagement & Development - Department of Human Resources 10

  • Step 1 – Inquiry

    • Invite the other person to share their

    perspective.

    • Pretend that you don’t know anything and try to

    learn as much as possible about the other

    person’s perspective, interests, point of view.

    • Don’t only focus on the words said.

    – Watch for body language

    – Listen for unspoken energy - What does he/she really want?, What is he/she not saying?

    Step 1 – Inquiry

    • Focus on areas of common ground without loosing sight of differences/opposing interests.

    • Don’t interrupt, listen actively.

    • Respond, not defend.

    • Don’t take things personally – be prepared for

    an emotional reaction/push back.

    Employee Engagement & Development - Department of Human Resources 11

  • Use Positive, Non-Blaming

    Communication

    • State your position using “I” statements

    • Avoid “you” statements- they sound accusatory

    and blaming.

    “ You just keep on rumbling on an on” versus “I am not

    understanding you. Help me to hear what I am missing”

    • Use tentative language.

    “ It looks to me….”, It appears to me”….

    • Avoid “why” questions.

    “Why did you say that?”

    Key

    Techniques

    Use Active

    Listening Techniques

    • Ask open-ended questions to encourage further

    discussion and explanation.

    – Tell me more…, Help me understand…

    • Paraphrase to ensure the accuracy of the

    message heard (clarity).

    • Use non-verbal encouragers.

    – nod of the head or positive facial expressions

    • Use verbal minimal responses.

    – “Uh-huh”

    • Summarize the conversation.

    Employee Engagement & Development - Department of Human Resources 12

  • Small Group Activity

    • As a group draft the following

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