Leaders have them every day, many would say it is part of the job, if not the job itself. If the people make a business what it is, then managing relationships with emotional intelligence is the key to success. If you have prepared for a difficult conversation properly, how can you manage the conversation to a successful conclusion?
Firstly, be self aware of your emotions and whether you are ready for the conversation. If emotions are still running high, then you are not ready. If your emotions have subsided and you are ready for a rational objective conversation, then proceed.
Pick the right time and place, if the environment is wrong, or all parties are under a lot of stress, this will undermine the situation. Find an environment that is conducive to the conversation, and a time that allows everyone to contribute without pressure.
Display empathy. This does not mean capitulating or agreeing with the other person, it just shows you understand their views and position, and have listened to them. They are more likely to relax and become open to the conversation.
Exert self-control over your emotions. If your hot buttons are pressed, then do not allow your ‘inner chimp’ to react with an emotional response. Control it, pause, and respond rationally.
Listen to the other person – not just the words, read their body language, gauge their emotions, read between the lines and consider what they are not saying.
By displaying empathy and having both self awareness and self control of your emotions the conversation can be lead to a conclusion (not necessarily agreement) with respect and integrity. This will leave the door open to future conversations on this or other subjects.
About the author
Bill Mann is The Keep Calm Guy – Executive coach and mentor helping individuals, teams, and leaders make change with emotional intelligence.