If you’re preparing yourself for a conversation that you’ve labeled “difficult,” you’re more likely to feel nervous, stressed, angry, or upset.
To minimize these negative emotions, reframe how you’re thinking about the conversation: You’re not saying no to your boss; you’re offering up an alternative solution. You’re not giving someone negative feedback; you’re starting a constructive conversation about their development. This isn’t sugarcoating. Be honest with yourself about how hard the conversation might be, but frame it as constructively as possible.
You might tell yourself: We may have to talk about difficult things, but we’ll work through them together because we’ve always respected each other. And focus on what you stand to gain from the conversation — assume you have something to learn. By entering the discussion with an open mind, regardless of your coworker’s stance, you’re more likely to find common ground.