No one likes having tough workplace conversations. Shooting the breeze, chatting around the water cooler, catching up over lunch are all much more enjoyable.
But if done right, tough conversations are excellent opportunities to grow, coach and foster cohesion among employees.
A recent Forbes article, “How To Navigate Difficult Discussions And Decisions In The Workplace,” pointed out while tough conversations are often left up to HR people, all leaders need to have the skill – and accountability – to regularly discuss challenges with team members before involving HR.
“Leaders hold people accountable by not shying away from having tough conversations and making tough decisions, as avoiding these important conversations and decisions will only compound the issue.”
However, tough conversations are something our brains naturally resist having. We are wired to feel uncomfortable when contemplating negative interactions and ones that may involve disagreement or judgement by another.
The solution is giving brains what they need in daily interactions so people can think more clearly and be high performing during times of change and challenge. Having conversations that foster insight and focus on solutions can help people think through problems and make better decisions. For leaders, this requires learning a brain-based coaching approach to workplace interactions. These are skills that can be learned and used daily to build trust, unify teams, increase innovation and mentorship.
Having conversations this way fosters psychological safety – the optimum climate for high productivity and engagement. When people feel safe they’re more open to having those tough conversations, and learning and growing from them as a result.
Understanding the neuroscience behind conversation skills allows leaders to gain a new appreciation of how exactly to have tough conversations in ways that improve individual and team success.
Now that’s a conversation worth having.
Noesis delivers neuroleadership consulting and training to organizations handling everyday change and major transformation initiatives. We help our Fortune 500 clients scientifically improve leadership.