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4 Ways To Manage Difficult Work Conversations

At some point during your career, you’re bound to find yourself in the midst of a difficult conversation. Whether you are the one leading the discussion or the one receiving feedback, it can certainly be a nerve-racking experience. The good news? We’ve all been there!

While it may be easy to imagine the worst case scenario, doing so can certainly do more harm than good. Instead, you want to remain calm and collected, and approach the conversation with tact. To help you prepare, here’s how to identify difficult career conversations and how to handle each:

You make a mistake

Making mistakes in the workplace is inevitable, but there may come a time in your career where you make a mistake so egregious that it could damage your reputation and your future opportunities with your company. You know that you will need to address this error with your supervisor, so how should you approach the situation?

In fairness, this is a common experience for many so it may be a situation your manager is understanding and sympathetic toward. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take accountability for what happened; it’s important to remember that transparency is key when discussing a conflict. Be open and honest about how it happened and tell your supervisor how you plan on finding a solution to the issue at hand.

You have a disagreement with a colleague

Workplace disagreements happen within every company, and you will probably have one at some point in your career. Although they’re fairly common, you never want to let them take a turn for the worst and result in personal blows.

That’s why you want to address these disagreements as soon as possible and ensure you are paying close attention to where your colleague is coming from. During the conversation, you should both discuss what each of you is hoping to ultimately achieve and try to reach a compromise.

You’re questioning your choice of career

At some point over the course of your career, you may question whether or not the path you’ve been on is right for you anymore. This is a normal and fairly common situation professionals find themselves in, but that doesn’t make this conversation you may have with yourself any easier.

If you find yourself questioning whether or not you want to make a career change, start by asking yourself what you like and don’t like about your career. Do the positives outweigh the negatives? Are the negatives something you can change and are in your control? Make a list of each and see which side you feel most compelled to. You might decide that your current feelings are merely temporary, or they could be a call for a significant change.

You’re leaving your current role and company

Let’s say that you decide you need a career change or you have recently been offered a new job opportunity. Even if you don’t like your current job and have fantasized about quitting, breaking the news to your supervisors and colleagues can be awkward and difficult. You might want to get it over with as soon as possible, but how do you do that in the most professional way?

If you’re about to resign from your job, you will first want to have an in-person meeting with your supervisor. During the meeting, be gracious and thank them for the opportunities they provided you over the course of your time with the company. Regardless of your relationship with your manager, you should demonstrate that you’re committed to ensuring the transition is a smooth one.

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