Holding Difficult Conversations / Moving Past Conflict



 Many of us worry about engaging in difficult conversations for fear of worsening the situation or damaging the relationship.  As a result, we either avoid these conversations altogether while trying to "live with" status quo, or we attempt to hold the conversation with disastrous results. 

Difficult conversations can relate to a variety of important issues including performance issues, negative behaviours, or holding people accountable for the achievement of agreed to goals.  

Being able to conduct these conversations is a part of leadership and can be accomplished by following a process while leveraging excellent communication skills.     

In this course, participants learn practical tools and a structured process to overcome resistance to change, foster understanding, and gain commitment.  A variety of tools and techniques are taught and then applied to actual workplace needs and challenges.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this program, participants will have learned:

  • How to plan for and conduct a difficult conversation
  • The importance of an effective "opening"
  • How to climate of trust and openness
  • How to respond to difficult behaviours or attitudes
  • What to do / not do when others are being confrontational or difficult
  • Speaking tools that vary in "strength" depending what's needed given the situation
  • How to get at the root cause of conflict
  • How to maintain a respectful two-way dialogue
  • Following up and/or revisiting the conversation
  • Applications of tools and techniques to actual workplace challenges

Biography on Robert Harris

Robert Harris, B. Comm., MBA, CHRP, is president of Robert Harris Resources Inc., a company dedicated to professional development and leadership excellence.   

Robert started his career as an HR Advisor for the City of Vancouver.   Robert then became Manager, Staffing and Employee Relations for Baxter Corporation. 

 Subsequently, Robert joined Molson Breweries as Director, Corporate Human Resources, and was on the steering committee that coordinated the merger of Molson with Carling O’Keefe Brewery.     

Robert then became a Partner with a national consulting firm specializing in coaching, and leadership development which led Robert to launch Robert Harris Resources Inc., a training organization focused on learning and leadership development.  

Robert works in both Canada and the USA with a wide array of clients across a number of industry sectors.  This includes extensive work with municipalities, health agencies, high technology companies, and associations.  

Robert has written three books, most recently Change Leadership: Inform, Involve Ignite and is a frequent contributor to the business press. 

Robert is on the faculty of two business schools and is a keynote speaker throughout North America.