How skilled are you at difficult conversations?

by Andrew Wien

Posted on October 21, 2020

How skilled are you at difficult conversations?
How skilled are you at difficult conversations? You likely default to 1 of 6 levels. Which level describes you best?

Difficult conversations are any conversation that you think might be difficult. These conversations are typically on topics where conflict is expected and you care about the outcome.
First, think of a difficult conversation that would be helpful to have. It could be managing an underperformer, delivering bad news on a project, or sharing a tough message with your partner.

Next, read the 6 statements below. Which describes you best?

1. Avoid: It’s better to not have this conversation—the benefits are not worth the costs.

2. Dilute: I don’t want to hurt them. If I subtly hint at what I want to communicate, they will understand.

3. Confront: I’m right. I just need to tell them.

4. Engage: There are two perspectives here. I want to learn their perspective and share mine.

5. Resolve: In addition to learning their perspective and sharing mine, I am confident that we can get to a mutually beneficial outcome.

6. Attract: I believe these conversations are the source of the greatest learning and growth. This person knows this about me, and they trust that we can turn toward conflict skillfully.

What level are you at? What if you were 1-2 levels higher?

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