• Kathy Svetina

Navigating Difficult Conversations With Your Employees

From: "Help! My Business is Growing" Podcast


Navigating Difficult Conversations With Your Employees


It's challenging to grow a business alone, and as many founders know, adding team members to the mix is a surefire way of achieving success. You'll have the workforce to make things happen and hit your goals.


However, it's also a sure way for conflicts and complications to arise. Employees are human beings, and disagreements, drama, and unmet expectations are unavoidable. It is uncomfortable and stressful and will also disrupt the workflow of the whole team, eventually affecting your bottom line.


When awkward situations come up regarding employees, some leaders choose to ignore them and wait out the discomfort. Your employee might not be ready to face the truth? And you might not be prepared to handle an emotionally charged and uncomfortable discussion.


However, having "difficult conversations" is inevitable in the workplace, and avoiding them can increase resentment, lower employee morale, and eventually promote a toxic work environment. They are necessary to ensure smooth operations so your business continues to grow.


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.


Ron Reich is the President of RLB Training and Development and works with major organizations, focusing on leadership and management development, corporate training, and organizational development.



In this week's episode, we discuss:

  • 12:09 Why is it so challenging for leaders to try and implement the company's vision and mission statement alone?

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

  • 16:38 So, you've successfully developed your vision and mission statement. Where do you go from there? How do we use it in an everyday type of situations?

  • 27:20 How do you prepare and structure a difficult conversation with team members, so it's positive, productive, and not emotionally draining?

  • 36:55 What is a small but tangible step founders and managers can take next week to bring them closer to being a thoughtful and responsive leader who cares and is proactive in how to structure their team?


Transcript


Listen to the podcast here:



 
"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 so challenging for leaders to try and implement the company's vision and mission statement 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
 


So you've successfully developed your vision and mission statement. Where do you go from there? How do we use it in an everyday type of situations?


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. 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.




How do you prepare and structure going about a difficult conversation with team members so that it is 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.



What is a tangible step founders and managers can take this next week to bring them closer to being a thoughtful and responsive leader who cares and is proactive in how to structure their team?


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 tougher 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.





We go in-depth with this topic and more over at the podcast. Listen here:



 

To Recap:


1. 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.


2. 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.


3. 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.


4. Before sitting down one-on-one with your employee for a difficult conversation, prepare by being clear about what you want to address and the outcome. Listen attentively, be respectful, keep on track, and develop possible solutions.


5. 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 tough conversations.



 

About Ron L. Reich

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


 

by Kathy Svetina

Kathy is a Fractional CFO and the founder and director of NewCastle Finance LLC. She is a financial puzzle solver, focusing on women-owned businesses, providing financial insights needed for a healthy and sustainable business.