Cheif Learning Officer Solutions for Enterprise Productivity

How to Strengthen Managerial Relationships

Managing Challenging Conversations
Manager-employee relationships are a two-way street, with roadblocks and rough terrain along the way. Occasionally, managers are forced to engage in challenging conversations, and how they handle these can seriously impact their future relationships with direct reports. It’s not always easy, especially when managers and direct reports are not in the same office.

“We are spread out across the country, and many of our managers need to communicate with their employees remotely,” said Claire St. Louis, vice president of talent and career development at United Water, a U.S. provider of water and wastewater services. “The risk here is the tendency to communicate less, not more, because of the physical separation. We focus significant portions of our training programs on communication, both to emphasize the importance of doing it consistently and to provide practical tools and tips for doing it effectively.”

Since difficult conversations between managers and direct reports will forever be a part of the workplace, managers need to be better prepared to deal with them, and that’s where development is important. Learning leaders can offer many options to enhance managerial effectiveness. For example, a challenging management conversations seminar can help managers learn how to conduct tough conversations with confidence and employ the skills needed to better resolve conflicts.

The seminar should identify specific strategies, such as advanced planning, that managers can use to overcome challenging conversations and use role playing so they can practice before the real deal. “If managers do not communicate well — or understand why it is essential that they do so — it will always inhibit their ability to build and sustain positive, trusting relationships with their colleagues, their staff and their customers,” St. Louis said. Giving managers an opportunity to practice what they have learned firsthand will help them handle these conversations more effectively.

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Article Keywords:   leadership   management  


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