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Dealing With The Tough Stuff by Sean Richardson, Alison Hill, Darren Hill

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2 Dealing with the tough stuff Foundational skills

As a leader, supervisor or manager, there's one inevitable task you will encounter: the tough-stuff conversation. Whether it's addressing underperformance, critiquing work or dealing with heightened emotions, some situations with some people will be tough — there's no escaping it.

Given that we can't avoid the tough conversations, a clear choice remains. The fact that these conversations are inevitable leaves us the options to:

  • passively ignore them
  • actively avoid them
  • have them reluctantly
  • get good at them.

We think the last option is by far your best choice if you plan to stay in a leadership or management role for longer than the next month or so, particularly if you want to be a leader with influence. If, on the other hand, you're a few weeks away from handing in your notice and heading to Tuscany to eat, drink and generally be merry, then perhaps you can get away with the first three options.

For the rest of us, who have to make do with reading about Tuscany (and occasionally sitting through a bad romantic comedy about a 50-something woman rediscovering her life) and turning up to work each day, there really isn't much choice. It's imperative to get good at the tough-stuff conversations because, quite simply, your leadership legacy is defined by how well you handle them.

The two steps to getting good at the tough conversations ...

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