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Handling Difficult Conversations


How do you respond to conflict? Do you head for the hills, go to war or give in? Uncover the secrets great leaders use for responding to employee performance problems immediately, comfortably and with assurance. As a supervisor or manager, there is a good chance that you are putting off a difficult conversation with someone. Learn to handle these situations with prompt and responsible performance feedback.


As a supervisor or manager, you are judged on your ability to have open and honest dialogue. Most managers avoid confrontation in the hope that the problem will resolve itself - only to discover that avoiding it compounds the problem.

"Takeaways" that you practice and can apply on the job when you return:
• Utilize the "I Statement" technique to give constructive feedback
• Deal with difficult employees
• Promptly handle employee performance problems
• Recognize the escalating symptoms of employee anger
• Utilize strategies to address employee defensive methods

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Benefits and Learning Outcomes

  • Know when you need to have a difficult conversation
  • Organize your thoughts and mentally prepare yourself
  • Pinpoint when and where to have the difficult conversation

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Course Outline/Topics

I. Giving Performance Feedback
A) Why are good feedback skills so important?
B) The communication cycle
C) Why employees don’t perform
D) “I” Statement Method
E) How should we say it?

II. Analyzing Employee Performance Problems
A) Factors contributing to performance problems
B) Ask smart questions

III. Handling The Difficult Employee
A) Employee defense tactics
B) Case studies

IV. Addressing Conflict Situations
A) Conflict Style Model
B) Conflict Steps
C) Conflict Case Studies
D) How to Cope
E) Action Planning
F) References
G) Conflict-Management Style Survey
H) Critical Incident Sheets

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This program can be applied toward the:

Tue., Oct. 20
Location: UWM School of Continuing Education (Click link for directions)
Instructor: Victor Gray
$345: Register by Tue., Oct. 6
$395: Register on or after Wed., Oct. 7 Discount Available
Enrollment Limit: 30
Program No. 5050-8170
Register Now
For more information, contact:
Jan Allen, Director, Business & Management,, 414-227-3219, 888-947-9947


Spring 2015 Business Programs Catalog

Or download the pdf