Contact me +447985 440014 or email:

Courageous conversations at work

Is there someone you need to have a frank and honest heart to heart with? Do you need to speak your mind to someone? It takes courage to have these conversations sometimes. Our fears about how the situation might pan out can hold us back.

At times I have been brave at other times less so. I have had two such conversations recently – with one, the outcome was favourable, with the other it was most certainly not- the person concerned responded with what can only be described as thinly veiled abuse!

This was illustrated by a drama I commissioned to illustrate typical workplace conflicts between colleagues, issues which are typical and recurrent and which when insufficiently addressed can lead to incidences of stress in the workplace. The drama was part of a stress at work showcase held in July 2014.

The drama illustrated that we all have our own approaches to handling conflicts and these are some of the pointers that were discussed (regarding a manager-staff member conflict scenario):

  1. Knowledge is power- be informed – of what to expect, grievance procedures,
  2. Be confident- demand to be heard, do not accept being put down – this is about positionning- where do you demand to be positionned? Tap into your ‘adult’ not the inner child.
  3. Be empathic- do not let the manager- or the person concerned dictate the tempo of the conversation
  4. Body language- hold your own- this comes naturally with the confidence
  5. Awareness- be aware of the prevailing work culture- what are the expectations? what’s the norm? How might this positively or negatively challenge you?
  6. Comfort zone- what more is the situation asking of you? and what do you need in order to give that bit more?

Often such situations ask of us to tap into the higher part of ourselves, the parts that we might not know so well, but are willing to risk/ get to know. And when we have these courageous conversations at work, it is from this higher part of ourselves that we speak. For more about this, read the ‘stepping into your discomfort zone’ newsletter blog (scroll down).

The drama allowed us to see 4 different approaches to solving a typical conflict in the manager-staff person relationship; a relationship where power status is unequal. We could learn from each and certainly see what we could do, what would work as a possible strategy for us and what wouldn’t work. If you would like to be invited to be a part of a forum which reviews this drama and how what we learn can be applied to working practice, please do let me know. The forum is due to meet in October 2014 in Central London.

Afterall, this drama has proven to be useful information that can serve to empower future work (and personal) interactions. So let’s review and learn together.

Similar Articles

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *