For over two decades, I’ve led successful teams, launched multiple organizations, and created innovative solutions that in short, improve people’s lives.  Our diverse teams represent product lines that offer clients technological and innovative medical solutions.  In my experience, I’ve come to appreciate the value of effective and efficient communication.  I also recognize that not all conversations are easy to have.  If the value of “straight talk” can lead to breakthroughs in the workplace, what are some things to consider before hosting your next difficult conversation? 

Leading a family of businesses and managing professionals with different backgrounds, perspectives, education, and motivators can be a challenging yet rewarding experience.  In my role as CEO, I’m blessed to be responsible for designing strategies, exploring the latest technology in surgical procedures, partnering with talented surgeons, coaching high potential future leaders, rewarding team success, and leading meaningful – yet sometimes difficult – conversations.  The opposite of humility is arrogance and arrogance can hurt leadership credibility.  Next time you face the need to have a difficult conversation, consider five suggestions to help support your best possible outcome.  

5 Things to Consider Before Having Difficult Conversations

1. State Intention
Make it a habit to share the meeting’s intention at the beginning of discussions.  After sharing core concerns, listen, show empathy, ask open-ended questions, and avoid getting too far off the original intention when having difficult conversations.  Work together to determine a new plan of action ahead and when appropriate, incorporate ideas brought into the discussion from the other party. 

2. Avoid Assumptions
As humans, we often make assumptions based on long-held personal perceptions.  When preparing to have difficult conversations, prepare ahead of time by asking yourself if any personal triggers may have led you towards crafting assumptions about this person’s motives or actions.  Clear your mind to avoid bringing “extra baggage” to the table before you hold the conversation.   

3. Explore Perspective
Challenge yourself to maintain an open mind throughout difficult conversations.  Listening to different perspectives helps leaders grow.  It makes way for potential breakthroughs to occur when people are able to consider circumstances differently.  Be open to explore new possibilities when presented.

4. Foster Trust
Corporate cultures are evolving and becoming more transparent.  People are inspired to follow leaders they trust.  Trust is earned through actions not words.  When people trust you, it’s easier to invite them to have difficult conversations.  Mutually beneficial relationships often lead to desired business outcomes so work on cultivating a workplace where others value and respect that what you say is what you’ll do and that if errors are made, you will work hard to make it right.

5. Say Nothing
Sometimes, not saying anything is best. Use discernment to determine if circumstances call for straight talk or not.  If you choose to have a difficult conversation, avoid bullying, intimidating or coming across as demanding to support a spirit of openness vs. fear.    

Brandon Rouse leads a diverse and growing team of professionals well-versed in the challenges facing healthcare today. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, Brandon’s experienced team represents various technological and innovative medical solutions. ZB RX Medical and RX Medical are direct distributors of Zimmer Biomet.