Have the right mindset when delivering a difficult message.

A Better Way to Have a Difficult Conversation

In Building Your Team by Jason CortelLeave a Comment

Counseling employees never gets easy. It is one of the most difficult and challenging things a manager will have to do. And, it is very necessary if you and your team are to succeed. How you deliver your message is important but it starts with your mindset.

When you set out to deliver a difficult message do you feel like you are hurting the person? Do you feel it is unfair? Are you worried about demotivating them? Thinking this way prior to counseling an employee will make it harder to have the conversation and will also cause the conversation to be less than helpful.

A manager’s job is to help employees improve and to make sure that each employee is in the right chair for their skillset and potential. By keeping someone somewhere that they aren’t effective causes them to feel inadequate day in and day out. It also causes the company to miss targets and could cause a morale issues with your other staff.

When you are counseling an employee you are doing them a favor, not hurting them or being unfair to them. You owe it to your employees to help them see if the role they are in isn’t a fit or to help them identify where they need to improve and then go about making change.

Here are some tips for the next time you have to have a difficult conversation with an employee:
  • Check your mindset to ensure you are approaching the situation from the perspective that you are helping them not hurting them
  • Plan but be prepared for the conversation to go off script
  • Acknowledge their perspective
  • Stay compassionate and empathetic
  • Listen and reflect on what they are saying
  • Remain constructive
  • Don’t label the conversation as difficult
  • Be clear, direct and keep your emotions under control


Jason has a passion for leadership, management, strategic planning, and organizational development. He is recognized for having the ability to develop client-focused organizational cultures through people development resulting in significantly higher customer and employee satisfaction and retention.
Jason CortelA Better Way to Have a Difficult Conversation

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