Difficult Conversations

22 Jan

To be candid, I don’t relish confrontation or tough conversations.  I certainly don’t go looking for them, but they are important. Over the years I have learned and continue to learn new strategies for dealing with them.  In 2013 our staff did some wonderful PD with Collen Douglas of Massey University surrounding these. Here is a summary of some things I have picked up:
First, make the conversation safe.  What this means is, don’t engage someone in front of others.  Find a quiet place to have the talk.

Second, try hard to not be abrasive.  We are all human beings and criticism typically doesn’t feel good. Be a human, empathize, but also be strong enough to get the point across.

Third, control your emotions.

Fourth, treat the individual with respect.  It is important to go into a conversation with a plan.  My best advice is to be honest and human.  Don’t lose sight of the goal.  Don’t over think the situation, focus on what is best for students.

Fifth, your best friend can often be documentation.

Sixth, this is not about winning and losing.  This should be about doing what is best for students and the school.  Anytime I fear a conversation I come back to one simple thought, “Is this helping or hurting our students?”  Sometimes that simple thought spurs me into action.

Remember by avoiding these a great problem often supervenes.

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