You’re bound to encounter several complex and challenging work conversations during your career as a manager or entrepreneur in the diverse work setup of today. Often these problems require expert solutions, which can only come through the focus and leadership skills of the person in charge.

Diversity in the workplace has meant that no organization today is free from unnecessary conflicts and differences of opinion within employees. Employees come from diverse backgrounds and are often unable to find the middle ground needed for practical co-existence. In such cases, conflicts happen, and managers/entrepreneurs need to take charge of the situation and recommend a solution.

No one teaches you the skill of handling difficult conversations at work. Instead, it is something that you prepare yourself for at the moment or learns through experiential learning. Another effective way to learn this skill is through acquiring knowledge from others who have been in these situations before. Learn from their experiences and implement the proper steps.

This article mentions a few strategies and tips that might help women entrepreneurs the next time they’re handling a tough work conversation. Go through these tips and develop an effective resolution strategy.

Look Around for Support and Suggestions
Most entrepreneurs or managers have mentors they look up to for support and suggestions. Whenever you face a difficult work situation, it is always best to proceed and ask that one person about what they would do in the given case. The suggestions and recommendations they give might eventually add perspective to the way you approach the discussion.

Know Where to Begin
You’d be surprised to know just how many entrepreneurs and managers delay important meetings related to conflict resolution just because they aren’t sure where to begin. Beating around the bush can take perspective away from the actual point in the discussion, and developing a complacent approach might reduce the gravity of the matter.

Hence, the best way to start is through a direct approach. For instance, if you want to talk to someone about a delay in work submission, begin by sending an email that entails, “Victoria, it has been brought to my notice in today’s meeting that you have continuously been missing deadlines and ignoring submission requirements. Let’s grab a cup of tea tomorrow at 10 am and have a chat over this.”

The message above is a great starting point because it includes the following characteristics:
• The message within the email is to the point
• The email specifies a time for the meeting and does not leave that up for assumption
• And it builds expectations as to what will be discussed in the meeting. The employee can hence prepare a response accordingly, rather than being caught out of the blue

Know Your Objective
As an entrepreneur or a manager in the tricky business world of today, you need to realize that the purpose of a difficult work conversation is a lot more than just getting dead weight off your chest. There has to be a business objective insight or a justification for the approach you bring to the table. What is it that you want to accomplish through the meeting? What outcome are you looking for? For instance, do you want this to be a warning meeting, or do you want to motivate the employee through positive reinforcement?

Avoid the Blame-Game
Although this is a self-explanatory point, it is often considered one of the most challenging things to do during a complex work conversation. Do not underestimate two things:
1. How crucial it is for you not to play the blame-game and start blaming each other for the behavior
2. And just how difficult it can be to avoid placing blame through the course of difficult conversations in the workplace

It is human nature to find people to blame for their lack of understanding or application, which is why you need to remain level-headed and make a conscious effort to avoid the blame game.

Give Them Space to Feel
Often difficult work conversations include information that can be tough for employees to process. If an employee takes time processing the data, give them space and let there be silence. Do not fill pauses of silence with your small talk.

Additionally, if the employee shows an emotional response to what you have just said, acknowledge it rather than brushing it off. Emotional reactions include crying and even anger through justifications and other reasons. You can console and help recognize their feelings through something as professional and straightforward as “I understand how you feel and hope this won’t happen in the future.” Remember that everyone responds to a difficult conversation; don’t judge them for how they respond.

In the end, if you do have adequate time for preparation, your complex work conversation can be smooth and easy to manage. However, the key is to remain compassionate through the meeting and stick to the point.