25 April 2021
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How to have complicated conversations at work?

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It is advisable to advise people in advance about the importance of meetings to show confidence

Have you ever had to tell your team about the dismissal of one of the lawyers? Have you ever had to tell your team about the loss of a client? Have you ever told your team about the end of a deadline? 

Difficult conversations are impossible events to avoid in a law firm. Whether it's about work or non-work issues, conversations about difficult issues always happen and it is important to know how to deal with and manage them, so that they don't affect the relationship between lawyers

Knowing how to manage such conversations can greatly benefit communication and cooperation between workers.

Individual meetings help to deal with difficult conversations. It is vital to realise that these meetings need to be driven by a two-way conversation. That is to say, the boss has to establish a conversation in which the other party can talk and express his or her opinion freely. Otherwise this meeting would be more imposing than constructive.

A relevant tip is to warn the other party about the meeting and describe the importance of the meeting in advance, so that he/she can prepare himself/herself.

Throughout the individual meeting, it is important to differentiate between objective facts and the feelings one may have during the conversation. In difficult conversations it is very useful to leave personal considerations aside, as they can cloud or blur the main topic of the conversation

State objective facts and give real examples and name actions performed by colleagues. These elements enrich the conversation and provide practical points of view, which make the conversation itself constructive (and not destructive). 

We all know that difficult conversations with co-workers will occur at unexpected times. To prevent such conversations from undermining the morale of co-workers, department leaders or managers need to create a climate of trust and honesty.

How do you create an atmosphere of trust? By setting up regular meetings with individual employees to provide constructive feedback. It is also a good idea to organise events outside the workplace to promote camaraderie among employees. 

The fundamental issue is that department heads have to ensure a positive atmosphere within the work teams, to be able to withstand unexpected negative eventualities and to be able to overcome them quickly and with optimal coordination. 

A good technique for successfully overcoming a difficult conversation is to try to find a joint solution between the parties. In order to do this, it is important to establish a framework of mutual trust and to be clear about the objectives of the company and the parties involved. 

From there, different courses of action can be analysed, and the ability to give in on certain points can be explored. Disagreement is the worst fate when it comes to difficult conversations

Uncomfortable conversations between employees should be held face to face, if possible, as it is easier to reach an understanding in the same room than from a computer screen

Copyright © The Impact Lawyers. All rights reserved. This information or any part of it may not be copied or disseminated in any way or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of The Impact Lawyers. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of The Impact Lawyers.
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