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Discussion – Difficult Conversations

Discussion – Difficult Conversations

I found myself in a difficult conversation when I had to approach my coworker about her failure to participate in the team. Our team consisted of four team members. A difficult conversation is a chat with a person about an issue you care about where the conclusion is unknown, and the situation demands your influence (Green, 2013, p. 24). I voiced my concern for her well-being and the impact her actions were having on our connection.

Conversation Techniques used

During the difficult conversation with my coworker about her failure to take part in the team, I employed several conversation techniques to navigate the sensitive topic. First, I practiced active listening by paying close attention to her and not interrupting her while she communicated her thoughts and feelings. Giving someone your undivided attention makes them feel heard and validated (Murdoch et al., 2020, p.659). Second, I used professionalism and empathy by showing understanding of her difficulties and accepting her sentiments without judgment. Notably, compassion in a discussion can create a non-confrontational environment and facilitate open dialogue (Cnk, 2023, p.322). Most importantly, in this kind of conversation,  one should be forthright and not sugarcoat or apologize for talking (Dunlap, 2020, p.28). The idea is to learn how to conduct the conversation in such a way that results in “a better outcome: less pain for you and less pain for the person you’re talking to” (Knight, 2015, para.2).

Interpretation of the Conversation

My coworker and I had a delicate and essential chat about her lack of participation in the team. To help her realize the gravity of a situation, it was critical to approach it with professionalism, empathy, and no judgment (Jones, 2019, p.257). We created a supportive environment by actively listening, expressing understanding, and using “I” statements, which resulted in her identifying the problem and being willing to play her part, which was a great outcome.

Better Management of the Conversation to Make it Less Difficult

To make a conversation more manageable and effective, it should be done in a private, comfortable place where both participants feel at peace (Shi et al., 2022, p.134185). In addition, beginning the conversation with a statement of care and concern may help to establish a more compassionate tone from the beginning (MacKay et al., 2021, p.7986). Finally, suggesting prospective solutions or, in this situation, volunteering to help her be more proactive and clearly define everyone’s role in the team would alleviate the strain of finding an answer while demonstrating significant support for her efforts to participate.

The Outcome

The talk with my coworker had a pleasant and beneficial outcome. After our chat, she apologized to the other members and actively participated in the team, which was a crucial step toward resolving the problem. Our team remained intact, and we all felt relieved and confident that the team was going to achieve its set goals.


Dunlap, M. (2020, April 16). How to have tough conversations with employees. Mary Dunlap Consulting.

Cnk, K. K. (2023). Exploring the Synergy Between Cultural Awareness and Co-culturing: Understanding Subjectivity, Relativity & Objectivity in Culture. European Economic Letters (EEL), 13(4), 316–326.

Green, M. E. (2013). Painless Performance Conversations: A Practical Approach to Critical Day-to-Day Workplace Discussions. John Wiley & Sons.

Jones, S. (2019). Testimony through culture: towards a theoretical framework. Rethinking History, 23(3), 257–278.

MacKay, M., Colangeli, T., Gillis, D., McWhirter, J., & Papadopoulos, A. (2021). Examining Social Media Crisis Communication during Early COVID-19 from Public Health and News Media for Quality, Content, and Corresponding Public Sentiment. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(15), 7986.

Murdoch, D., English, A. R., Hintz, A., & Tyson, K. (2020). Feeling Heard: Inclusive Education, Transformative Learning, and Productive Struggle. Educational Theory, 70(5), 653–679.

Shi, T., Huang, R., & Sarigöllü, E. (2022). A qualitative study on internal motivations and consequences of consumer upcycling. Journal of Cleaner Production, 377, 134185.

Knight, R. (2015, January 9). How to Handle Difficult Conversations at Work. Harvard Business Review.


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Prompt: Describe a difficult conversation you were involved in or one that you witnessed. In your main post, describe the following details:

Discussion - Difficult Conversations

Discussion – Difficult Conversations

Describe the conversation techniques used (if any).
Explain your interpretation of the conversation.
Propose how the conversation could have been better managed to make it less difficult and more productive.
Describe the outcome.

Require Reading resources: Textbook: Painless Performance Conversations, Chapter 1

How to Have Tough Conversations With Employees


How to Handle Difficult Conversations at Work


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