Difficult Conversations - Practical Tactics for Crucial Communication by Joel Garfinkle

Difficult Conversations: Practical Tactics for Crucial Communication
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Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

What’s the key ingredient to any tough conversation? Avoiding procrastination. When you wait, the issue only festers and it becomes harder and harder to talk about. Difficult Conversations: Practical Tactics for Crucial Communication will help you navigate your most challenging conversations, from approaching a boss about concerns to firing an employee.

Even the best leaders struggle with how to let an employee go, provide tough criticism about a coworker’s performance, or approach a supervisor about company-wide issues. But Joel’s step-by-step guide makes starting a difficult conversation easier when it matters most—showing how to discuss your feelings honestly while achieving the desired results.

In this book, Joel delivers techniques for dealing with defensive or even hostile coworkers, showing how to de-escalate such situations, overcome communication hurdles, and mitigate interpersonal problems. Browse through the table of contents here.

Difficult Conversations gives you a handy guide to dealing with scenarios like these:

  • A coworker makes insulting comments every chance he gets.
  • A team member consistently interrupts others in meetings.
  • A direct report makes negative comments about others’ work.
  • A coworker’s direct reports are fed up with her authoritarian leadership style.
  • You want your boss’s support in shifting a toxic workplace culture.

This book gives you a roadmap to initiating conversations on any difficult subject. Learn how to discuss what matters most in a disarming way by following Joel’s 8-step plan. Engage in effective conflict resolution by making people feel understood, enlisting their help in solving the problem, and creating solutions together.

For instance, the book provides a 4-step guide to firing an employee:

  1. Act swiftly, but prepare ahead of time. Don’t let an unproductive working relationship drag out. A great leader acts decisively and with confidence. After you’ve worked with HR to create the notice and severance plan, draft a list of bullet points and rehearse the conversation. Keep the list in front of you so you’ll hit all key points. Then schedule a meeting with the employee and get right to it.
  2. State the key facts. Clearly specify the problems that resulted in the termination of employment. Have that documentation in writing as well. While you don’t need to provide every example illustrating each failure or shortcoming, you do need to present a solid case for your decision. The last thing you want is a wrongful termination accusation.
  3. Show compassion for the employee. This person undoubtedly has valuable qualities, or she wouldn’t have gotten the job. Provide some positive affirmation by letting her know what you appreciate about her. Offer some support that could help her to take the next steps in her career, if possible. For instance, mention career opportunities that you feel might suit her well, and express your willingness to write a recommendation letter if you feel able to do that.
  4. Listen to the employees response. This person will obviously have a reaction to the news, whether it’s denial or anger. Don’t let things drag on indefinitely, but give him space to voice a response.

Conflict is bound to happen in any workplace, even within the healthiest culture. Even coworkers with great working relationships will sometimes find themselves immersed in conflict. With Difficult Conversations, you’ll hone your conflict-resolution skills so you and your colleagues will emerge from conflict with even stronger relationships. Order Difficult Conversations now, and begin tackling those challenging conversations today!

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