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Managing difficult conversations at work

Most of us dislike confrontation: avoid it, maybe, which can often lead to even more difficulty, misunderstandings and possible conflict.

In the current climate of recession and continued economic uncertainty, we may find ourselves working with reduced budgets, constant organisational change and ongoing performance issues, as people try to make sense of all this.

As a supervisor, team leader, manager or director, you may find yourself faced with having to conduct a number of difficult conversations either with your entire team, or with individuals within it.

This practical, participative workshop will allow you to discuss those issues in a confidential and safe environment, where you will have opportunity to try out different approaches and techniques with your colleagues to get the best outcome.


  • To give constructive feedback without causing offence
  • To develop a structure for running effective conversations
  • To deal with emotional reactions during those conversations
  • To choose a conflict resolution style that is more likely to achieve a successful outcome
  • To manage yourself in a calm, professional and ‘adult’ way.

Workshop outline

  • Why do we find some conversations or situations difficult?
  • Real-life challenging scenarios that you face at work
  • A constructive feedback technique
  • Managing my ‘self-talk’ using the thoughts, emotions, actions (TEA) model
  • Exploring assumptions – about me/about the other party
  • Thomas-Kilmann conflict-handling modes
  • The assertive boss – saying ‘no’ and choosing the right language
  • Emotional hijacking – when the other person plays the emotional card (tears, anger)
  • Action planning.

Who should attend?

Directors, managers, team leaders, supervisors or anyone who feels uncomfortable dealing with and managing difficult conversations or putting across tough messages.

HQN has a track record of helping organisations achieve real and lasting performance improvements. If you are interested in accessing this training package please contact us by emailing

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