Preparing for Difficult Discussions

Preparing for Difficult Discussions

As a leader, you have an opportunity to help others solve their problems. You can provide support and direction by paying attention and offering helpful guidance. Good listening skills are a critical part of effective leadership.

When you listen, you can provide support for employees during difficult times. The simple act of listening can be a big help to a stressed-out person. Listening can also be a development tool. When you listen and respond, you’ll be able to help employees learn from their experiences.

The supportive listening process

By using a process for listening, you’ll ensure that you’re making the most of your interactions with employees. There are three steps in the supportive listening process.

1. Paraphrase what you think the person really means

When you paraphrase, you help the other person clarify his thoughts. You restate in your own words what you think the person is saying. You might say, “It sounds like you’re saying that you feel overwhelmed with the new project.” You then give the person a chance to verify what he’s said.

2. Share your perceptions of the situation

Let the other person know what you think she’s feeling. You’ll get feedback about your perceptions. You may think someone is angry, when she’s really feeling hurt. You’ll also let her know how she appears to others.

3. Ask purposeful questions

Ask questions that help you better understand the situation. You may ask questions like, “What are your thoughts about…?” or, “What do you see as the pros and cons…?” or, “What information do you need to make a decision?” These questions will also clarify the other person’s thoughts. (Read more on

By successdotinc

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