Individual Reflection Difficult Conversation

IndividualReflection: Difficult Conversation

IndividualReflection: Difficult Conversation

Difficultconversations are common in personal as well as the professionallives. However, the real cost of the difficult conversations isdetermined by the effectiveness of the strategies used to resolve theconversation (Makovsky, 2012). In most cases, difficult conversationsarise when most sensitive issues are being addressed. Some of thesensitive issues that give rise to difficult conversations includethe poor performance, personal problems, and investigatingcomplaints. In this paper, I shall reflect on one of the difficultconversations I have encountered in my professional life.

Circumstancesof the difficult face-to-face conversation

Aftergraduating with my first degree, my mother, who was the director ofthe family hardware business recruited me as the human resourcemanager. This job position puts me in a difficult situation sincesome of my relatives (including two cousins and a younger brother whoworked in part-time) had served in the business for quite a long-timethan me. Although they did not express their resentment openly, Icould tell that there was a crisis in waiting. The difficultconversation arose in one of the mornings when I decided to introducea new job attendance procedure where all employees would sign in themorning and sign out in the evening or when leaving the job. Otheremployees agreed with the procedures, but my younger brother, who hada poor job attendance, engaged me in a conversation before signingin. He needed an explanation for my decision to introduce new ruleson my third day of work and the intention of monitoring the jobattendance of employees.

Onmy part as the HR, I took my responsibility to explain the importanceof signing in and that an action would only be taken in case anemployee failed to attend the job without permission. Although myexplanation was clear, my brother could still express dissatisfactionsince he was opposed to the procedure, but his interest to concealhis habit of absenteeism. My action was effective because heeventually signed in and reduced the rate of absenteeism in thesubsequent working days.

Strategiesfor improved communication skills

Althoughthe conversation was challenging, it helped me understand thesignificance and effectiveness of three major communicationstrategies. First, being able to control emotions in difficultconversations helps one understand the concerns of the other party,which serves as the basis for resolving the conversation (Pinola,2014). Secondly, being a good listener helps one understand theissues raised by the other party amidst their emotional reaction, andthis helps in calming the emotionally affected persons (Pinola,2014). Secondly, the ability to communicate in a concise and clearway reduces chances of lengthy and difficult conversations (Hallett,2014). This ensures that the difficult conversation is resolved assoon as possible.

Preparingfor the difficult conversation

Adequatepreparation for a difficult conversation results in a win-winsolution, where both parties arrive at an agreeable solution. On mypart, I would prepare for the difficult situation in two ways in Iwere to face it again. First, I would decide on the motive of myengagement in the conversation, which would ensure that theconversation leads to some viable conclusion. Secondly, I woulddecide on the most desirable outcome of the conversation beforeengaging in it. This would ensure that the conversation is objectiveand fruitful. In conclusion, difficult conversations are challenging,but one`s ability to control emotions, communicate clearly, and toprepare adequately results in viable solutions.


Hallett,T. (2014). The7 Cs of communication.London: Mind Tools.

Makovsky,K. (2012, June 28). Difficult conversations. Forbes.Retrieved January 18, 2015, from

Pinola,M. (2014). Top ten ways to improve your Communication skills. KINJA.Retrieved January 18, 2015, from