Navigating Conflict and Challenging Conversations

Leaders need to be able tackle challenging conversations in a productive, thoughtful, and timely manner that preserves and promotes relationships and addresses the real issues.

Many leaders find themselves unequipped or unwilling to tackle the important conversations they perceive as challenging. These leaders worry that:

  • The conversation is risky, and the stakes are high.
  • The issue has a history of unproductive and unsuccessful communication.
  • The conversation will go badly, and the situation will get worse.
  • They’ve waited too long to address the issue, and now their credibility is at stake, or it’s too late to salvage the situation.

Yes, the stakes can be high. But effective leaders are committed to preparing well and having the challenging conversations anyway.

The Navigating Conflict and Challenging Conversations workshop gives participants a proven framework and skill set to successfully navigate the perceived difficulties of a challenging conversation. Drawing on Harvard research on negotiation, as well as work by Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Charles Feltman, Susan Scott, and others, leaders learn to reframe difficult conversations as critical opportunities for learning, relationship development, and creative problem solving.

Leaders learn how to:
  • Assess the underlying risk factors
  • Defuse emotional charges
  • Examine their own contributions to tricky conversations
  • Encourage productive dialogue
  • Propose new solutions
  • Create positive outcomes for both parties

Despite different perspectives, strong emotions, perceived threats to self-identity, and unchallenged assumptions about intention, impact, and accountability, skilled leaders can make challenging conversations productive.