Do you or your managers avoid having 'difficult' conversations with staff?

December 16th, 2013

Do you or your managers avoid having 'difficult' conversations with staff?

How to broach awkward subject with employees was the topic of discussion at a recent Bridgend Business Forum. More than 70 delegates attended a breakfast seminar hosted by Wales Quality Centre, Bridgend County Borough Council, Hugh James solicitors and Insight.

Louise Price, Partner of Employment and HR Services Team at Hugh James, kicked off the discussion by examining the legal and practical aspects of effective performance management from objective setting to formal review; drug and alcohol abuse both inside and outside the workplace; dealing with personal relationships between colleagues; and tricky issues surrounding personal appearance and hygiene. Louise discussed the legal pitfalls and obligations as well as some practical tips to deal with challenging behaviours.

Paul Chudleigh, Client Director of Insight, generated some interactive discussion with the group regarding understanding some of the emotional, psychological and organisational factors that hold people back from conducting difficult conversations. Paul also spoke about the different styles that people use to deal with conflict situations, and how strengthening our lesser-used styles can help us use the right tools at the right time.

The presentation also outlined why we struggle to make clear-headed responses to conflict if we are angry or anxious, and why we should avoid making decisions when we are in 'the bubble'!

Using business actors, Paul's colleague, Amanda Stewart, demonstrated how even very confrontational characters can become engaged in constructive conversations, if the manager applies an appropriate approach.

The seminar marked the launch of the Insight and Hugh James Management Development Programme which provides a unique wrap around course designed to blend legal, business psychologist and HR professional perspectives using a variety of interactive learning methods with the aim of supporting participants to tackle some of the tougher elements of leadership and management. For more details see [attach link].

Simon Wiltshire

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