Framework for Difficult Conversations | Dr. Will Ramey

Framework for Difficult Conversations | Dr. Will Ramey

Framework for Difficult Conversations | Dr. Will Ramey 800 600 OnTheStacks

Communication Framework

Research Backed Approaches to Leadership and Team Dynamics with Dr. Will Ramey, The Leadership Doctor

Having communication frameworks for difficult conversations with your team members allows you to be confident, calm, and focused. We give you a model to effectively address behaviors and drive high performance. Let’s get into it!

The Impact of Conversations

As a team leader take a moment to think about how many people you interact with every day…

Your list is probably very diverse with internal or external personnel at every level of an organization. You must be able to shape your message with precision and clarity depending on your audience. Depending on the situation you will need to frame your conversation accordingly. Every opportunity that you can converse and communicate with your team is an opportunity to connect and influence.

Balancing Relationship and Performance

Time and again studies show that relationships with their boss is a source of stress for team members. This stress can lead to poor performance amongst other negative outcomes. As a leader how we communicate makes an impact on the relationships with our team members. Having strong relationships with team members and being able to communicate expectations clearly is something great team leaders understand. After coaching over a dozen leaders this past year there was a common roadblock that kept popping up regarding communication that was causing hesitation and stress for these team leaders. These team leaders did not know how to hold a difficult conversation with a sub-par performer on their team. They knew they were working around these sub-par performers. They knew they should be addressing the performance for the overall good of the team.

These team leaders were in a position to drive positive change. They were high performers promoted based on their past performance and future potential. They were not ones to shy away from a challenge. However, when it came to having a clear, open, candid conversation with someone on their team that wasn’t performing well, these leaders were uncomfortable and avoiding the situation because they didn’t have the knowledge or experience to prepare, sit down, listen, and shoot straight about what needed done to correct the situation.

Let me share a communication framework that worked for these leaders. It will work for you to successfully speak with your team members about poor performance and shed some of that stress you’re carrying around with you.

The DESC Model

When preparing for a conversation with a team member that isn’t hitting the mark refer to the DESC model. This model provides you an opportunity to shape your thoughts, communicate the facts, and share with the person what you are observing, what impact it has, what you want to see going forward, and what happens if the performance isn’t corrected. This model is concise and allows for fact-based communication.

1. DESCRIBE: Share what is happening or what someone is doing that causes a problem. State facts only. No opinions. No disapproval. Just facts. Speak in terms of “I” statements.

2. EFFECT: What effect or impact does this situation have on the organization or on you personally.

3. SOLUTION or SUGGESTIONS: What exactly would you like to have change? What does right look like? Be specific.

4. CONSEQUENCES: Share what good things will happen if this change is made and/or what bad things will happen if this change is not made.

Prior to the conversation, write out the DESC model and fill in your points. Take time to go over the conversation using the DESC model in sequence, so you are as prepared as possible.

Benefits of DESC

Using a framework for difficult conversations allows you to collect your thoughts and communicate with brevity and clarity. Being able to have a complete conversation will ensure that you are doing everything you can to help your team member recover and get back on track. As a team leader, sticking to a framework will also keep the conversation focused on the matter at hand. You will feel more confident and deliver an impactful message while maintaining a positive relationship.

I’ve used and shared this framework with dozens of leaders. It works. Communication and how we show up makes a huge difference in our work environment. Leverage every opportunity you can as a leader to positively influence your team, even if that means having the tough conversations. It may not feel any better, but it will get easier as you prepare and use the DESC Model.

Reach out to connect on LinkedIn Dr. William Ramey | LinkedIn

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