How To Have Difficult Conversations With Employees, Part 3 | LEAP Podcast

by | Jun 6, 2022 | Podcast

Most people are never taught how to have difficult conversations with other people. For business owners, managers, or anyone else who interacts with employees, it is critical to know some very basic tips and strategies for having these conversations.

In part 1 and part 2 we talked about how to make sure your employee knows that you sincerely care about what they have to say, and invite them to share their perspective of the conflict before you share yours. Your approach to having difficult conversations with people can mean the difference between building or maintaining a good relationship and destroying a relationship.

In part 3 I would like to focus on making sure that you ask the right types of questions during your talk. Don’t cross-examine your employee because that will automatically put them in defense mode and you won’t get anywhere with the conversation. The key is to ask open-ended questions. These types of questions will begin with the words ‘What, When, Where, Why, or How’. This leaves the door open for your employee to answer. For example, if you’d like to know why your employee is perpetually late. Instead of saying ‘Why can’t you make it to work on time?’ instead, say ‘What is going on in your life that is making you late for work?’.

Show Transcript

In this video, I’m going to talk more about how to have difficult conversations with employees. Hi, everybody. I’m A.J. Grossman, divorce lawyer, and owner of Leap Frog Divorce.

So I’ve talked before about how to have difficult conversations with employees. And in this video, I want to focus on asking questions. And what you don’t want to do is you don’t want to cross-examine your employee, you don’t want to ask questions that demand a yes or no answer. You want to focus on asking open-ended questions and open-ended questions are so easy. They all begin with what, where, when, why, or how. And when you ask those questions, it basically leaves the door wide open for whatever it is they want to share with you.

So here’s a quick story. So let’s say that I’m a manager and I’m having a conflict with one of my employees, and they keep coming in late. So I might want to do something like this. And Joe is a hypothetical employee. “Hey, Joe, help me understand what it is about your life your morning routine, maybe that makes it really difficult for you to get in on time.” So that open-ended question gives him a lot of freedom to talk about whatever it is he wants to talk about.

It’s not asking him a yes or no question or starting off with the why question even though why questions are open-ended sometimes they can be a little antagonistic. For example, here’s an antagonistic open-ended why question. “So Joe, why can’t you get to work on time?” That doesn’t work.

So, soften when asked the open-ended questions. Help me understand is a great lead-in. So I hope that this was helpful. I hope you’ll try my tips. If you found this video valuable please consider subscribing. I’m releasing new videos all the time. Thank you so much for watching. Have a wonderful day and be well.

Arthur J. Grossman J.D., LL.M., Esq

Arthur J. Grossman J.D., LL.M., Esq

AJ Grossman graduated at the top of his Florida law school class, has been trained in Collaborative Divorce, has a Master of Laws degree in Dispute Resolution, and is a Barrister member of the invite-only Central Florida Family Law Inn of Court. His aggressive advocacy on behalf of his clients provides hope and reassurance throughout challenging divorces.


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