Situation 

Joan was an engineer within a large city government with a staff of 6 people. One of her employees needed to improve how she was interacting with other staff as she was negative and initiated gossip. Joan did not know how to approach this employee to tell her to stop this behavior as it was interfering with the productivity of the office. She did not know how and did not want to confront this employee because she knew “Alice” would be angry and Joan did not know how to deal with anticipated conflict the conversation would produce.

Strategies 

  • ​Practice identifying what's reasonable and correct in another's point of view. 
  • Experiment with body language (e.g., leaning back in meetings rather than leaning forward.) 
  • Knowing what words are better in communicating “confrontational” messages. 
  • Observe tendency to get in touch with feelings when having such conversations.

Results 

Joan now has a better set of tools to discuss uncomfortable subjects with her staff. She has sample words and knows that practicing and being calm, direct and straightforward with planned course is necessary.  

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Joan