Handling Difficult Conversations

Difficult conversations are an inevitable part of dealing with management processes. For this reason, when an individual anticipates such a conversation, there is a great need of having adequate preparation by employing the right words and gestures when dealing with a difficult matter (Bohn, 1996). In a personal experience at the work environment, I was expected to inform a ‘difficult’ client regarding anticipated delays in the delivery of services. As I expected, I was upset and nervous beforehand however, I framed the conversation in a less binary and positive manner to create a constructive conversation with the client on development. The strategy is important as it helps an individual develop alternative solutions rather than just explaining the grim circumstances of events. It is important to note that difficult conversations are more likely to have negative consequences if a person handling it assumes it normal.

Moreover, before engaging in an anticipated difficult conversation I would ensure that I am centered and calm by having regular deep breaths (Gergen & Gergen, 1988). It is achieved by having regular breaks of practice throughout the day as mind-full breathing plays a crucial role in the process of refocusing thoughts. Therefore, an individual will handle difficult moments by absorbing them effectively without panic (Bohm, 1996). In addition, the technique helps individuals plan strategically by jotting down important notes before that anticipated conversation (Bohn, 1996). However, it is important to jot down the key points that are flexible as the conversation may go any direction. It is because the counterpart is more likely to go off script, but may be contained by maintaining a language that is simple, neutral, clear and direct.

What I have learned about myself and my likely Inferences about Others that to improve my reflective leadership

Reflective leadership is the approach taken by leaders when they intend to lead their personal lives with personal mastery and presence (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2003). During this course, I have learnt that it is critical to be present, to be attentive and aware to any experiences that I encounter with people throughout as by doing so, I focus on reflective leadership. This means that human experience is the main perspective that is used in practice and study of effective leadership. Reflective leadership is typically based on the science of phenomenology coupled by self-awareness (Harvey, 1974). However, I have learnt that I need to be aware of my own experiences as well as the experience of other people as this improves the level of communication that can in turn improve reflective leadership. This essentially means that effective reflective thinking is determined both extern and internal processes that seek to promote improved critical thinking as well as in the process of self-understanding (Dirk, 1999).

Social and Psychological Impediments in Work Environment

Two main social and psychological impediments are capable of inhibiting my understanding of work ethics and leadership as discussed in this course. The two main impediments are the physical work environment as well as my cultural beliefs (Dirkx, 1999). The two inhibitors are critical determinants in my level of creativity that may contribute positively towards the development of innovative outputs that could enable my organization’s performance and hence improve its competitive edge (Gregory & Romm, 2001). However, there are other indirect barriers towards the application process of the concepts learned in this course such as time pressure, level or risk taking, freedom or autonomy (Edmonson, Bohmer& Pisano, 2001). The Left Hand Column and this case have played a critical role in the process of embracing necessary and meaningful activities, perceptions or ethics as far as my inner and outer engagements are concerned.


Alvesson, M. & Sveningsson, S. 2003. Good visions, bad micro-management and ugly ambiguity: contradictions of (non-)leadership in a knowledge-intensive organization, Organization Studies, 24 (6), pp.961-988.

Bohm, D. 1996. On dialogue. New York: Routledge.

Dirkx, J.M. 1999. Invited reaction: managers as facilitators of learning in learning organizations, Human Resource Development Quarterly, 10 (2), pp.127-134.

Edmonson, A., Bohmer, R. & Pisano, G. (2001) Speeding up team learning, Harvard Business Review, 79 (9), pp.125-132.

Gergen, K.J. & Gergen, M.M. 1988 .Narrative and the self as relationship. In: Berkowitz, L. (ed.). Advances in experimental social psychology. Vol. 21. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, pp.17-56.

Gregory, W.J. &Romm, N.R.A. 2001 .Critical facilitation: learning through intervention in-group processes, Management Learning, 32 (4), pp.453-467.

Harvey, J.B. 1974. The Abilene paradox: the management of agreement, Organizational Dynamics, 17 (1), pp.17-43.

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