Having Difficult Workplace Conversations – Weekly Update

Having Difficult Workplace Conversations – Weekly Update

Ken Meyer, SHRM-SCP, SPHR | Principal, KWM HR Consulting LLC

Navigating the tumultuous waters of a challenging workplace dialogue can indeed be a formidable task, yet it is one that we, as seasoned professionals, must confront with both grace and fortitude. As President of the New York City Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (NYC SHRM), I’ve had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the transformative power of effective communication in the workplace.


First and foremost, preparation stands as the cornerstone of success in any demanding exchange. Take ample time to gather your thoughts, articulate your objectives, and envisage potential avenues of discussion. By arming yourself with a clear roadmap, you not only bolster your confidence but also lay the groundwork for a fruitful conversation.

During the dialogue itself, it is imperative to embody the principles of active listening and empathy. Approach the exchange with an open mind, attentively absorbing the perspectives of all parties involved. Validate their concerns, even if they diverge from your own, fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.

Assertiveness, tempered with diplomacy, is the linchpin of effective communication. Articulate your points with clarity and conviction, utilizing “I statements” to convey ownership of your emotions and viewpoints. However, refrain from adopting a combative stance; instead, endeavor to collaborate toward a harmonious resolution that satisfies all stakeholders.

Post-conversation, take stock of the experience, discerning insights and lessons that can be gleaned for future interactions. Remember, my dear colleagues, that every challenging dialogue serves as an invaluable crucible for personal and professional growth. In times of duress, do not hesitate to lean on the support of trusted confidants or seek guidance from seasoned mentors. Together, let us navigate the tempests of workplace discourse with poise, resilience and unwavering determination.

Be well.

Ken Meyer, SHRM-SCP, SPHR

President, New York City SHRM

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