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May 18, 2021by Mikerash1


How to Have That Awkward Conversation with an Employee


Leading a company and managing a team is a highly respected position, where you can create relationships among employees while using your skill set to habitually motivate and work towards a common goal.


But what happens when an uncomfortable situation involving employee(s) and productivity affects the workplace? What is the best way to tackle the problem head-on to promote resolution?


Throughout your career, you can expect circumstances calling for your intervention to arise. When dealing with situations such as missing deadlines or going over budgets, the protocol to addressing it is fairly straightforward; however, when dealing with more complex situations-such as poor hygiene and money issues- the formalities usually aren’t so clear.


Here, we are going to list 9 ways to have that talk no one wants to have:


  1. Just do it: Just as Nike’s famous words state, the likelihood of moving forward is unlikely unless action is taken and fears are faced head-on to resolve any issue. Habitually, people avoid conflict to prevent potentially unpleasant situations involving emotion and common defense-but continuing to put off a problem only increases the chance of backlash. Take a moment and consider that, usually, employees don’t realize how a certain behavior is affecting those around them, and may actually appreciate you bringing it to their attention in a proper manner.                                    
  2. Be Prepared: When bringing up an certain matter to an employee or employees, it’s important to have the facts and any proof in front of you for reference. Taking on the role of a  business leader, you also take on the responsibility of a coach, so you must provide everything in order for your employees to succeed. Additionally, be sure that you document any conflict and implement policies to reference for certain situations.
  3. Choose the Right Setting: It’s important that when initiating a professional discussion, it is done so at the right setting to help set the right tone. For casual conversation, a coffee shop or lunch spot may be chosen in accordance with a laid-back tone. For more serious discussion, a professional setting-such as your own office-serves more practical in delivering a formal message. 
  4. Forget Emotions: When triggered, its human nature to immediately succumb to emotion and react, but-from a professional stance-this response only initiates additional emotion from the other party. Remember that, as a leader, your meetings are based around facts-and these unique situations should be no exception. Avoid using phrases such as “I feel” or “I’m disappointed’ to  avoid any bias.
  5. Set a Positive Tone: Setting a positive tone before a meeting even happens is crucial to help prevent defensive and emotional reaction. Try sparking the conversation by asking how the employee is doing or how they are feeling about joining the team. Establishing an open dialogue will prevent any defensive reaction or loss of motivation.
  6. A witness may be needed: If this is a serious talk, you should have someone else-such as an HR representative-in the room. This becomes increasingly important when dealing with issues of policy violations, behavioral issues or anything that may require disciplinary coaching. However, you should never have another employee in the room acting as a witness.
  7. Hold everyone to the same standard:  When leading a team, each individual should be held-equally-to the same appropriate standard. Consistently enforcing performance expectations outline by the company closes the possibility of an individual or group of individuals to take personal offense.
  8. Confidential: When addressing problems between employees, it is your responsibility to keep the matter only between the involved parties as best as you can. Keep others out of the situation to protect their privacy.
  9. Review the situation: After you complete your conversation discussing the matter at hand, remember to check-in with the employee later. By offering positive reinforcement and encouraging direction, you’re demonstrating your continuous support for your team.

While the idea of a distraction-free workplace is unlikely, the ability for you to improve addressing and resolving these issues with discussion is likely. Remember that by facing your fears and tackling issues head-on, you are not only preventing future complication, you are demonstrating yourself as a respected leader in the workplace. Doing so tarnishes any sort of toxic work environment and instead promotes an environment of ethic and morale.


If you’re still having trouble taking the first step in handling these conversations, or-despite your greatest efforts- there is little to no progress, we can help you. Contact our team at MCDA CCG, INC. today and we will match you with one of our skilled professionals to help guide and coach you throughout this entire process-sharpening your skills and building up your confidence . We offer competitive pricing and personalized solutions tailored to fit you and your company, providing you the ability to continue to motivate and support your employees.


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