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Dealing with the Tough Stuff

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Dealing with the Tough Stuff

How to Achieve Results from Key Conversations


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Most managers hate conflict and difficult conversations. Here’s how you can proceed gracefully and effectively.

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  • Applicable


Behavioral scientist Darren Hill and psychologists Alison Hill and Sean Richardson explain that behaviors are difficult, but people aren’t, at least, not most people. To show leaders how to handle difficult workplace conversations, the authors discuss verbal and nonverbal communication, restructuring, termination, crisis management, and more. Their advice is succinct and to the point. They give managers the nitty-gritty on handling difficult behaviors without pop psychology fluff. Their practical suggestions include using three-point communication to defuse tense situations and cultivating a growth mind-set for handling crises. The authors lighten the mood with clever, alliterative chapter titles, while delivering tough, workable advice. You’ll appreciate the layout, charts, diagrams, brief examples and useful lists – all good stuff, and not just tough stuff. getAbstract recommends this perceptive book to managers, teachers, parents and other leaders.


“Foundational Skills”

Managers with staying power learn to tackle personnel problems head-on, but to do that, you have to be prepared. Ask yourself if you address misunderstandings immediately or ignore them. Are you aware of how nonverbal communication affects “tough” conversations? How well do you deal with anger? Can people manipulate you by being emotional? Are you confident in your ability to manage difficult, big-picture moments, such as layoffs or restructurings? How would you respond during a crisis? The answers to these questions can reveal where you must improve so you can manage tough discussions effectively.

To figure out why people behave as they do, use the “ABC model,” that is, consider the “Antecedents, Behavior” and “Consequences.” An antecedent is “what comes before” – what led to a problematic behavior. Behavior is what a person does. Consequences are events that result from behavior. Most behaviors have multiple antecedents and consequences. You can help your employees modify their behaviors once they understand what drives the way they act. People generally don’t change a behavior without a reason. For example, a hard worker who suddenly starts...

About the Authors

Behavioral scientist Darren Hill is a popular speaker in Australia and leads the Tough Stuff workshops. Blogger, trainer and consultant Alison Hill is a registered psychologist, as is Sean Richardson, a former world-class athlete who specializes in high performance psychology.

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