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How to Make Difficult Workplace Conversations Easier Logo aicpa

  Eddie Huffman |   Free |   AICPA |   15 Jun 2016 |

This article discusses tips for having a tough talk with a colleague..

Topics covered:
  • Management accounting: People: Communication, Foundational
  • Employee benefit plan auditing: People: Communication, Foundational
  • Governmental auditing: People: Communication, Foundational
  • Financial accounting & reporting: People: Communication, Foundational
  • Assurance: People: Communication, Foundational
  • Not-for-profit: People: Communication, Foundational
  • IT management & assurance: People: Communication, Foundational
  • Firm practice management: People: Communication, Foundational
  • Tax: People: Communication, Foundational
  • Forensic & valuation services: People: Communication, Foundational
  • Fair value measurement: People: Communication, Foundational
  • Personal financial planning: People: Communication, Foundational

5 Comments/Reflections

Michelle De Atouguia

Michelle De Atouguia Dec 2019

These difficult conversations can be awkward and lead to further conflict. I do try to follow these steps but it is never easy.
I found reassurance in this article and a few pointers. Hopefully I can improve by ability to handle these situations and control my emotions.
Briege Johnstone

Briege Johnstone Mar 2018

A short and concise article.

Good to read / have a copy of before having to have a difficult conversation.

In summary, be prepared; take your personal feelings out of it but be ready to listen as external non-work related factors may play a part and have resolution as the main objective
Jeremy Shaw

Jeremy Shaw Sep 2016

Short punchy article. Some useful tips. I particularly like the point about letting the other person speak first. Helps to see if they are on the same page as you. I seem to be having a lot of tricky conversations with staff at the moment so will definitely try using some of these techniques.
Simon Green

Simon Green Sep 2016

"Letting him or her provide a perspective, as soon as possible, will help establish whether you’re both on the same page. It also allows the other person to feel like an equal partner in the exchange." Often overlooked and an essential part in finding the resolution and understanding reason for the issue arising.
Tendai Nyakurimwa

Tendai Nyakurimwa Aug 2016

The article has sharpened my skills regarding tackling difficult conversations at workplaces. Its quite true that most people do not want to talk about it, however as outlined in the article, it is possible to iron out the differences. I am one of the people who dread to start a difficult conversation.

The important point here is to be open and transparent. Telling the person in advance the issues at hand will help him/her to prepare for the discussion. Perhaps the most important point is not to aim to punish the person of find fault in him/her. This will help the person to open up and readily accept suggestions.

By studying this article, I hope to be able to handle difficult conversations without any fear. I should be able to prepare adequately for such discussions.  My workmates will probably see this shift in my approach and want to copy it.

This approach will help to reduce conflicts within our organisation. This I hope will also reduce the need to have hearings every now and then.