Tackling sensitive conversations with skill and confidence
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Tackling sensitive conversations with skill and confidence

How to discuss a delicate topic with an employees and colleagues - a guide for managers
4.8 (6 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
503 students enrolled
Last updated 4/2017
English
Current price: $10 Original price: $25 Discount: 60% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Includes:
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 4 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Understand why certain issues are particularly sensitive
  • Know why managers may need to raise them
  • Appreciate some of the challenges they can face when they do
  • Know how to prepare for a conversation about a sensitive issue
  • Be familiar with important qualities to demonstrate when having a conversation about a sensitive issue
  • Use effective techniques for approaching sensitive issues how to agree a way forward
  • Appreciate the importance of familiarising yourself with your organisation’s procedures and policies
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • No
Description

Whether it’s speaking to someone about their bad body odour, tackling issues around someone’s personal life, dealing with sickness and bereavement or addressing suspected alcohol or drug abuse, being able to have conversations around sensitive issues is a key skill that can mean the difference between a happy, productive workforce and one that’s plagued by stress, poor employee dynamics and low productivity.

It’s also essential for employers and managers to be aware of common legal pitfalls around dealing with certain issues in order to avoid costly tribunal action further down the line.

Combining thought-provoking original drama with insight from an employment law expert and leading workplace psychologists, this course from Skill Boosters provides employers and managers with a toolkit for raising delicate and personal issues and resolving them effectively at an early stage.

Featured experts:

  • Petra Venton, Employment law expert
  • Barry Winbolt, Psychologist and mediator
  • Clive Lewis, CEO, Globis Mediation
  • Kate Russell, Employment law and HR consultant, Russell HR Consulting
Who is the target audience?
  • Business owners, managers and employees
Compare to Other Management Skills Courses
Curriculum For This Course
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Overview and preparing for the conversation
3 Lectures 14:43

We’ll be looking at what makes certain issues sensitive, some of the legal considerations for employers when addressing these issues and how to approach a conversation about a delicate matter with an employee.

By the end of this lecture you will understand:

- why certain issues are particularly sensitive

- why managers may need to raise them

 -some of the challenges they can face when they do.

The key to knowing when to raise an issue with someone is being able to recognise when it’s having a demonstrably negative impact on:

- a person’s performance, or that of other people

- the general working environment

 - the safety or wellbeing of others

- relations with your clients or customers

- your organisation’s reputation, image or values.


Preview 10:01

Employers and managers are often reluctant to raise sensitive personal issues with staff  if they’re causing a problem at work. 

This might be because they are concerned about the person’s reaction, or they might feel embarrassed about having to address a particular subject. But it can mean that problems aren’t addressed properly and that they just get worse.

There is also a very real concern among employers that raising certain personal issues could lay them open to accusations of bullying, harassment or discrimination. That’s why it’s important to have a basic understanding of both your organisation’s policies and procedures and certain key aspects of the law.

Establish your reasons and goals

1. Why have you decided to raise the issue? This could be anything from a particular incident, or a pattern of behaviour, developments in your organisation, or a failure to meet performance targets. 

2. What result do you want to get?

You don’t have to have a precise plan of action figured out, but you do need to know what you want to happen. The challenge is then to work out how.

3. What barriers or resistance are you likely to face? The person concerned could refuse to admit there’s a problem, or you might suspect that they’ll react badly. The better prepared you are, the easier it will be to handle any obstacles that arise.


Preparing for the conversation
02:34

Common sensitive issues include poor personal hygiene, alcohol or drug misuse, inappropriate work attire or conduct, sexual behaviour or caring responsibilities.

Such issues require careful handling if they are to be resolved effectively – and if employers are to avoid legal or tribunal action.

The time to raise an issue is when it’s having a demonstrably negative impact, for example if it’s affecting someone’s performance or on the reputation of your organisation.

Legal pitfalls
02:08
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Sensitive issue - Alcohol
1 Lecture 09:25

Determine the concerns

It’s important to ensure that you relate any issue to a genuine, specific work-related concern – and that it isn’t simply down to a difference in views, morals or taste.

Always be direct and specific about the problem you’re addressing – don’t leave the person concerned in any doubt about what the issue is or why you’re raising it.

It’s essential to consider whether you simply want to have an informal chat about the issue, or whether you need to go down the disciplinary route. You’ll need to handle things differently if you do.

Employee appears to have an issue with alcohol
09:25
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Sensitive issue - Body odour
1 Lecture 08:24

Make sure that the issue you’re raising has a direct work relevance.

Think carefully about what you want to achieve and consider how to make the conversation a constructive one.

Choose the right place and time to talk.

Familiarise yourself with your organisation’s policies and procedures so that you have a framework for action.

Consider whether you’re going to have an informal chat or whether the issue requires you to go down the formal disciplinary route.

If you’re going down the formal disciplinary route, it’s advisable to adhere to the Acas Code.

A colleague has offensive body odour
08:24
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Sensitive issues - Sick family member and office romance
2 Lectures 10:54

Whatever the nature of the issue you’re dealing with, it’s important to show respect and do everything you can to maintain the dignity of the person concerned.


Employee has a sick family member
08:01

Sincerity, honesty, respect, dignity and compassion are essential when discussing sensitive issues.

Make sure that you take a collaborative approach to finding a solution – the person is more likely to commit to the solution if they’ve had their voice heard and feel that they will benefit in some way.

Be sure to follow up with the person to make sure that they are taking appropriate action to remedy the situation.

Office romance
02:53
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Sensitive issues - inappropriate & uncooperative behaviours
2 Lectures 09:19

Depending on the issue, it might take several conversations to get to the bottom of a problem and find a way of resolving it, so don’t assume that it can be fixed in one go. It’s very  important to work together to find a solution – that way, you stand a better chance of getting to the root of the problem, addressing it effectively and preventing it from recurring.

Once you’ve agreed a way forward, it’s important to make sure that the person concerned accepts responsibility for resolving the issue. You can offer them support and guidance – but ultimately it’s down to them to take action. Make sure that you follow up with the person in a few days’ time to check that they are doing what you agreed and that progress is being made.

Employee displays inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues and clients
05:30

Whatever the nature of the issue you’re dealing with, it’s important to show respect and do everything you can to maintain the dignity of the person concerned.

Remember to:

Respect both the person and the problem

Avoid any expressions of judgment – it’s not your job to judge or moralise, so do your best to stay neutral

Don’t assume you know the whole story - ask questions to check that you’ve fully understood the issue or situation.

Uncooperative behaviour from an employee
03:49
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Check your understanding
0 Lectures 00:00
Assessment quiz
5 questions
About the Instructor
Skill Boosters
4.5 Average rating
562 Reviews
6,267 Students
19 Courses
Courses for inclusive, productive and healthy workplaces

At Skill Boosters we work with leading subject matter experts to design, develop and deliver training for the workplace.  We are passionate about delivering behavioural training which helps to build productive, tolerant and inclusive individuals, teams and workplaces and which improves lives and life chances.

Our courses combine video drama, expert analysis, documentary sequences and interactive study to provide flexible, cost-effective training that engages, informs and inspires our learners.

Skill Boosters courses and resources are trusted by many of the world's leading organisations to develop and improve the skills and behaviours of their people.

Barry Winbolt
4.4 Average rating
232 Reviews
2,366 Students
4 Courses
Training good people to be great

BARRY WINBOLT MSc. is a trainer, mediator, psychotherapist and writer.
For more than 25  years he has advised people in many cultures on how to
improve their working relationships and enhance the quality of their
lives. Over the same period he has provided professional training in
conflict management, communication skills, Solution Focused Brief
Therapy, workplace mediation and related topics.