Navigating Difficult Conversations With Your Employees

Jun 3, 2022 | Listen

Navigating Difficult Conversations With Your Employees

Adding team members can lead to growth and success but also bring potential conflicts and complications. When awkward employee situations arise, some leaders choose to ignore them, and employees may not be ready to face the truth. However, avoiding “difficult conversations” in the workplace can lead to increased resentment, lower morale, and foster a toxic environment. These conversations are necessary to maintain smooth operations and sustain business growth.

In this episode of Help! My Business Is Growing, our guest Ron Reich shares his valuable insights on navigating difficult conversations with employees and handling conflicts productively.

He demonstrates how you can transform these difficult conversations into opportunities for understanding and personal and professional growth and development – both for you and your team members.



Timestamps for this week’s episode

  • 12:09 Why is it challenging for leaders to implement vision and mission statements alone?

  • 13:14 What is the difference between a vision and a mission?

  • 16:38 How do you use your vision and mission in the daily worklife of your business?

  • 27:20 Structuring difficult conversations with team members, so it’s positive, productive, and not emotionally draining

  • 36:55 Actionable step to take to become a more thoughtful, responsive, and proactive leader in structuring teams?

“Organizations who have a very solid vision and mission statement put themselves in a much better position to compete, and their employees work well with each other, work well within the organization and with senior leaders as well.” Ron Reich

Why is it challenging for leaders to implement vision and mission statements alone?

Leaders typically have a hard time implementing their own company’s vision and mission statement because they don’t understand its purpose.

They see it as something telling them what to do and forcing them to give up their independence, instead of seeing that it ultimately serves as a guide to making the right choices and has the power to bring everybody in the organization together.

CEOs should not be making all decisions, and neither should the senior leaders. Everyone within the organization needs to be making important decisions as well, and asking how will this decision drive us forward or take us towards our vision or mission?

What is the difference between a vision and a mission?

A vision is what a company wants to do, yet it is almost always impossible to attain. It is often a statement written in an easy-to-memorize way. On the other hand, the mission defines what steps to take to achieve the vision objectives.

Visions are often “unattainable” because once you reach and achieve your vision, there are no more places to go, and progress stops. However, organizations must keep growing, innovating, and moving forward.

“One of the most important things that need to happen very quickly after the vision and the mission is developed is that it needs to be cascaded down and shared fully with the rest of the organization so that everybody understands it.” – Ron Reich

How do you use your vision and mission in the daily worklife of your business?

One of the most important things that need to happen very quickly after you’ve developed a vision and mission statement is to cascade and share it thoroughly with the rest of the organization. This way, everybody will understand it immediately.

Sharing the statement with your employees will also allow them to check if it resonates with them and is aligned with their values and priorities. Many times this will prevent problems that lead to difficult conversations.

Also, younger millennial team members between the ages of 25 to 32 can immediately see if they’re going to make a difference or not, which is important for them.

Structuring difficult conversations with team members, so it’s positive, productive, and not emotionally draining

Preparation is key to managing difficult conversations.

Before jumping in, make sure you know why you are having this conversation and what outcome you want to achieve. Stay respectful, actively listen, and focus on the points you wish to raise to stay in control and on track during the conversation.

Simon Sinek’s FBI approach can help you facilitate the conversation as well.

F is for feelings: “You made us feel uncomfortable, angry, helpless, sad, etc.”

B is for behavior: “You are confrontational, nitpicky, distracting, etc.”

I is for implications: “These are the consequences if you don’t stop your negative behavior.”

One of the most important things that need to happen very quickly after the vision and mission is developed is that it needs to be cascaded down and share fully within the rest of the organization so that everybody understands it.

Actionable step to take to become a more thoughtful, responsive, and proactive leader in structuring teams?

The one immediate step to take to be a thoughtful and caring leader is to get to know yourself, including your strengths and limitations and even triggers extraordinarily well because the better you know yourself, the more effectively you’ll work with other people. When you’re aware of those things, you can become more mindful and thoughtful, which will enable you to have difficult conversations.

You can also get to know your work colleagues because we work more effectively with people when we know them better both personally and professionally. It will also make those difficult conversations a little easier because you’re talking to actual people, not their positions.


Summary

  • Organizations with clear and impactful vision and mission statements have happier employees who work well with each other and are more competitive. However, many leaders still find it challenging to implement the company’s vision and mission statement alone because they see it as a threat to their independence and not a guide to making the right choices.
  • A vision and mission are two separate statements; a vision is what your company wants to achieve or where it wants to be in the future, while the mission is what it is doing right now to attain that vision.
  • Share your vision and mission statement with your employees immediately after drafting its final form. They can learn and absorb it and see if it aligns with their value system.
  • Before sitting down one-on-one with your employees for difficult conversations, prepare by being clear about what you want to address and the outcome. Listen attentively, be respectful, keep on track, and develop possible solutions.
  • Get to know yourself very well, your motivations, values, and how you act around others. These can help you transform into a more thoughtful and caring leader who can easily handle difficult conversations.

Transcript

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About guest – Ron L. Reich

President

RLB Training and Development

Ron L. Reich is a trainer and coach and the President of RLB Training and Development.

He has almost three decades of experience working with major organizations, focusing on leadership and management development, corporate training, and organizational development. Ron has worked in many industries, including medical and assisted living facilities, manufacturing, high-tech, retail, pharmaceuticals, and banking. He is also a well-respected and sought-after faculty member of the American Management Association.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ron-reich-7809829

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leadership_rlb/

Other Resources Mentioned in this episode:

Patrick Lencioni | The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business

Stephan Covey | The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Jon Gordon | The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon

Simon Sirek | How Great Leaders Inspire Action


About host – Kathy Svetina

Kathy Svetina is a Fractional CFO for growing small businesses with $10M+ in annual revenue.

Clients hire her when they’re unsure about what’s going on in their finances, are stressed out by making financial decisions, or need to structure their finances to keep up with their growth.

She solves their nagging money mysteries and builds a financial structure with a tailored financial strategy. That way they can grow in a financially healthy and sustainable way.

Kathy is based in Chicago, IL and works with clients all over the US.

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