Difficult conversations – mistake #1


One of the most challenging aspects of being a third sector manager is that you sometimes need to have difficult conversations with people in your team. This is a recurring issue for my third sector coaching clients. They can see what’s going wrong (poor performance, unreasonable behaviour, and so on) They know they are responsible for doing something about it but they are incredibly reluctant to have the conversation which could sort it out. They’d rather hide away than deal with it.

Mistake #1 Hiding


Are you making some of their mistakes?

1. Putting off having the difficult conversation because it might be awkward

2. Not being clear about what behaviour you want to see exactly

3. Muddying your message

In my next few blogs I’ll be looking at these three common mistakes.

Mistake #1 Putting off having the conversation because it might be awkward

This is very easy to do. We’re all busy. The Third Sector is a ‘nice’ place full of ‘nice’ people who get along. It’s hard to get tough with someone, and it’s so easy to procrastinate and hope the problem goes away. But of course, it doesn’t. In fact, it’s likely to get worse and create new, bigger problems. And still you have the worry of not dealing with something you know is important.

I help my clients to see that when they decide to confront their fears and have that difficult conversation they’ll feel so much better about themselves. Taking control of a tough situation is enormously empowering, whatever the outcome. It flexes the courage muscle and makes it far, far easier next time. And there are other pay offs too over and above seeing a change in behaviour. Other people notice. They see you taking responsibility for yourself and your team. They see you being successful, in control and showing leadership. No bad thing.

But you do need a plan which is where mistake #2 comes in. I’ll be looking at that in my next blog.


Katie Duckworth supports third sector organisations to improve management and leadership skills, including holding difficult conversations. Call me on 0208 772 7808 or contact me here for a no-obligation chat about how I can help you or your teams.




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