Creating Space for Challenging Conversations

April 13, 2021

Employers have begun to recognize that employees do not have two versions of themselves – a work persona and a personal one. Experiences, emotions and challenges can’t be stripped off like a coat at the office door. Virtual work environments have made this blatantly obvious as co-workers get to know each other’s pets and families with the intersection of shared home workspaces and zoom meetings.

Conversations about challenging topics, from employee performance to societal issues, require intentional planning on behalf of the employer to create a safe, inclusive space for dialogue.

We share a few tips for creating space for challenging conversations:

  1. Acknowledge and suspend active judgement: Employees should feel comfortable sharing their viewpoint without fear of judgment. It is normal for people to have these conflicting opinions, but they must be shared in a respectful way. Recognizing how we react to colleagues’ statements and thoughts, and increasing self-awareness for unconscious bias, can help a team to build a safe space for differing opinions or perspectives to be shared.
  1. Listen to understand: Active listening is critical to open dialogue. Too often people begin forming a response without letting the other person finish speaking. Instead, we should be listening to understand someone else’s point, rather than just listening to respond.
  1. Maintain an open mind: Open-mindedness is important to facilitating challenging conversations. We have to be willing accept and understand that we do not all have shared experiences. Assuming we understand why someone feels the way they do or expecting someone to think or feel a certain way can cause tension and prevent open dialogue.
  1. Allow time for open discussion and feedback: Productive conversation will require time for discourse and room for everyone to share. Creating time for open discussion will ensure everyone feels valued and able to contribute. Open discussion helps build awareness for others’ lived experiences and opinions, thus nurturing engaging, respectful relationships among team members.

Diverse backgrounds and perspectives are good for business. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is important to creating space for inclusive dialogue.

The Truvelop app is not a one-way performance evaluation tool. It is designed to foster conversation between managers and employees to set expectations and allow room for professional growth. Contact us today to schedule a demo.