Keeping It Cool: A Successful Supervisor’s Guide To Handling Difficult Conversations

Across every industry and workplace, an unavoidable part of every job is dealing with people. And, while standard employees can get away with limiting the intensity of their workplace interactions to the superficial talk at the water cooler, supervisors must often be the hosts of many kinds of difficult conversations.

This can be tricky – mediating employee conflicts, handling complaints, evaluating behaviors, and even letting people go when necessary. However, becoming comfortable and competent with these types of conversations is a necessity for any person serving in a supervisor capacity. Accordingly, here are three key tips for how to fine-tune your conversation style and best prepare and handle difficult conversations with employees.

Go In As Your Best Self

When growing up, people give you a lot of advice about what to do prior to taking a test, or performing in a show, or competing in a match – have a good breakfast, take a deep breath, clear you mind, etc. The thing about these constant reminders though, is that the reasoning behind them holds weight.

One should never go into serious dealings when you don’t have the basic essentials sorted out. Being tired or hungry or stressed can and will affect how you converse with somebody. Ergo, before having an important conversation, make sure you have taken care of all of your base human needs so that when you are in that meeting your best self is fully present. 

Keep Your Emotions In Check, But Keep Them Nonetheless

A lot of people will tell you that when having difficult conversations it is best to check your emotions at the door entirely. This is understandable, as you should not allow personal feelings (positive or negative) to influence your employee-supervisor dealings because fact should be at the core of these difficult conversations.

However, never forget that empathy (even tempered or internalized empathy) is an asset too. Resolving issues, or helping people overcome whatever struggle you are currently addressing is much easier when you understand them. So blocking out empathy completely is as unhelpful to the person you are confronting as it is to you.

A successful supervisor is neither made of stone nor made of pudding. A balance is required – objective, logical proceedings mixed with understandings. For, if not for the first you might end up being a pushover, and if not for the second you might end up alienating your employees.

Talk With Your Employees, Not At Your Employees

When preparing for a difficult conversation or confrontation, it can be easy to follow into the trap of preparing a whole speech in your mind of what to say. The problem with this, though, is that it is unrealistic. A supervisor-employee conversation is not like a presentation or a dramatized monologue; it is not just you in that room. Moreover, it is not all about you.

The point of a conversation is to converse so, while there is nothing wrong with preparing for hypotheticals and giving thought to what key points you want to cover in the meeting ahead of time, over prepping is a bad idea. Speak from the heart, not a script. Ask questions. Involve the other person. You are there to talk about them, after all.

Into The Gray

Every difficult conversation you will face as a supervisor in the workplace is different because every employee is different. As such, there is no exact map to navigate you through each occurrence.

However, that is okay. You were made a supervisor because the people above you believed you could supervise. So, trust yourself, trust your instincts, and keep these three tips in mind. If you do, you will be poised to handle difficult conversations with the empathetic grace and shrewd demeanor of a pro.

5 Characteristics Necessary To Start A Business

Every success story is different, but it takes a special kind of person start and run a successful business, someone who’s a step ahead.  But what is it that gives them this advantage that they need?  When looking at those who have found success, there are common characteristics that they all share, which provide with them with the tools that they need to be a true, successful entrepreneur.  Here are just a few of those characteristics:

Loving What You Do

Work becomes easy when it’s something you enjoy and when you pour 100% into something, it shows.  Those who truly stand out among the rest in the business world are those who are passionate about what they do. Passion is also what helps maintain a strong drive, allowing you to get back up after every challenge and come back better than they before, learning from where things went wrong and doing everything you can to improve your business.

Believing It What You Do

There’s a common saying in sales that says “you can’t sell what you don’t believe in”.  When you believe in your business and the services or products that you offer, your clients can feel it.  When you’re confident in your business, you’ll be more confident when you’re talking to clients about the benefits that you can offer them, since you’re simply sharing your beliefs.  If you don’t believe in your product or service, not only do you have to convince clients of the value, but yourself as well.

Proper Money Management

Businesses can’t run without money, so smart money management is key for running your own business.  Successful entrepreneurs never stop making careful and calculated financial decisions, regardless of whether business is slow or it’s booming.  From re-investing profits back into your company to allow for growth or ensuring that your team feels the benefits of your success.

Can Form An Effective Team

Speaking of teams, successful business owners know how to put together an effective team full of the right people, since it’s impossible to reach the top with support.  You need a team that you can trust and will strive for excellence just like you, only settling for the best.  For example, National Tax Office will put a professional team of tax industry experts by the side of an entrepreneur starting a new tax preparation business.  Not only does your team need to maintain that level of excellence, but compliment your knowledge and skills with their own to take your business to heights that couldn’t have been achieved alone.

Has / Knows How To Build A Strong Reputation

Beyond the products, services, marketing strategies, and branding lies something that is one of the most valuable assets for a business owner.  Having a good reputation does work for you after you’ve established it, bringing clients to your door after hearing that they can put their trust in your business.  The most challenging part is building this reputation, which takes drive and consistency.  Delivering on promises, capitalizing on your competitive advantage, and giving people a reason to talk about you and your business.