How to Be Awesome at Hard Conversations

Jen Bertsch sitting on a couch pointing her finger at the camera with a slight smile.

Only 12% of employees say that their managers help them get crystal clear on their priorities.

That means close to 9 out of 10 leaders are not doing enough to help their teams. This is a top priority. We, as leaders, need to do better.

But, how?

The #1 thing the leaders I coach need help with are difficult conversations.
It’s normal to struggle through those hard conversations. You know, the ones that loom over you and keep you up at night with dread? The ones you know you know you need to have.

My #1 tip is to stop avoiding them.

Avoiding difficult or uncomfortable conversations may seem like the easier option in the short term, but in the long term, it has negative consequences. Avoidance contributes to stress, amplified issues that persist, misunderstandings among your employees, and eventually erodes trust.

Here’s what you should try instead:

  1. Take some time to plan what you want to say and how you want to say it. Use this conversation map (a client fav!) to plan your conversation.
  2. Be clear and direct: Don’t beat around the bush or sugarcoat the problem – be upfront and honest with your employee or team member about what’s going on.
  3. Listen actively: Communication is a two-way street, and it’s important to listen actively to your employees. Give them a chance to speak their mind and try to understand where they’re coming from.
  4. Be empathetic: Having difficult conversations brings emotions to the surface for everyone involved. Acknowledge their emotions and let them know that you understand how they feel.
  5. Focus on solutions: When having a difficult conversation with an employee, it’s important to focus on finding solutions to the problem. Work together with your employee to come up with a plan of action that will help address the issue.
  6. Follow-up: After having a difficult conversation with an employee, make sure to follow up and check in with them to see how things are going. This will show that you care and are invested in their success.

By addressing issues head-on, you foster open communication, build trust, and help your employees grow and succeed. Which conversation were you thinking of while reading? It’s time to download the conversation map, create your plan, and have that hard conversation.

Bonus tip!

Celebrate! 🎉 As Leaders, it’s important to acknowledge small wins in your business. If you have been putting a hard conversation off for too long… once you have it, time to celebrate. Write what you learned from having the conversation and tuck that into your wealth of experience and use it next time. Share your win with your partner or coach.






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Or watch my free masterclass called, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There!

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