Episode 46

Effective Leadership – How to Tackle Difficult Conversations

Difficult conversations are inevitable in any organization. They happen every day, and they are often unavoidable. But most leaders aren’t trained to handle these situations effectively.

Leadership is not just about being nice and polite; it is about making tough decisions and dealing with conflict. It takes courage and strength to make unpopular choices, especially when others disagree with you. This is why it is important to learn how to have difficult conversations.


Sannah Vinding


Jerry E. Fu



Know your audience

Before starting a conversation, consider why you’re having the discussion.

Prepare for the difficult conversation

Prepare yourself by thinking about what you want to say and how you plan to deliver it.

Set boundaries

By setting boundaries, you’re able to avoid situations that could lead to problems later on.
Jerry talks about that people development is a skill set that every leader needs to master. It takes years of practice to develop these skills, but once you do, you’ll never forget how important they are. He also talks about the ability to handle tough conversations effectively. Having difficult conversations doesn’t mean that you should avoid addressing problems; rather, it means that you should approach them with empathy and respect.

You always have to look and say, how am I learning and how am I growing from this experience.

Jerry Fu

Difficult conversations are those where there are strong emotional reactions involved. They require you to engage in active listening, rather than just waiting for someone else to speak. You must pay attention to what is being said without interrupting while trying to understand how it affects the person speaking. This requires patience and empathy.

There are different types of difficult conversations. Some are easier than others. An example of an easy conversation is one where both parties agree on the outcome. In contrast, a crucial conversation is defined as one between two people who disagree on something important. Such discussions can become heated and involve intense feelings. Crucial conversations often occur when people feel threatened.

If you want to lead effectively, you have to be able to handle tough situations when they arise. This means being able to listen without judging, empathize without agreeing, and resolve conflicts without blaming. These skills will serve you well in any situation, but especially in leadership roles where you may find yourself dealing with conflict.

Jerry E. Fu

Jerry E Fu

Jerry E Fu

Founder & Owner - Adapting Leaders

Founder, Conflict Resolution Coach for Asian-American Leaders, Certified Leadership Coach, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consultant, Keynote Speaker, Leader Developer, Employee Research Group (ERG) speaker,

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