Leadership Breakfast Series – June 2024

The Bristol team recently held a seminar focusing on three crucial aspects of workplace communication: difficult conversations, giving and receiving feedback and performance discussions.

Our most recent seminar addressed three key elements of workplace communication: managing challenging dialogues, exchanging feedback effectively, and conducting performance reviews.

Some of the subjects touched on by Coach and Learning Facilitator Joe Redgrave from our partner Crisp Professional Development included:

  • What might be a difficult conversation? And why?
  • Preparation and a framework
  • Communicating the message well
  • The gift of feedback
  • Accepting feedback well
  • Radical candour
  • Care personally & challenge directly

These skills are essential for creating a productive, transparent and growth-oriented environment.

Here’s a summary of the key takeaways from our enlightening session.

crisp leadership breakfast

The power of difficult conversations

What might be considered a difficult performance conversation? It may be a management conversation where the purpose is to address a performance issue, investigate a complaint or mistake, resolve personality clashes between colleagues or team members, communicate a potentially sensitive or unwelcome decision or deal with a personal issue impacting work.

We learned that avoiding difficult conversations often leads to bigger problems down the line. Instead, approaching these discussions with the right mindset and tools can lead to positive outcomes.

Some key points included:

  1. Preparation is crucial: Gather facts, plan your approach and consider the other person’s perspective.
  2. Choose the right time and place: Ensure privacy and minimize distractions.
  3. Communication: How should you convey your message and express your thoughts without sounding accusatory?
  4. Listen actively and empathetically to understand the other person’s viewpoint.

The art of giving and receiving feedback

Effective feedback is a two-way street. This seminar highlighted strategies for both giving and receiving inciteful feedback constructively.

We learned that it’s okay to admit to mistakes without the fear of negative consequences. Better performing teams admit to more errors and mistakes and those that create a sense of ‘safety’ and willingness to speak up and challenge are better at fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

Navigating difficult performance conversations

Performance discussions can be challenging, but they’re essential for individual and organisational growth. We explored techniques to make these conversations more productive: Set clear expectations and goals from the outset.

Regularly check in on progress, not just during formal reviews. Use concrete examples to illustrate points. Collaborate on solutions and action plans. Follow up consistently to ensure accountability.


Client feedback

Most clients who participated at our breakfast seminal said they are extremely likely to recommend these workshops to others: “I enjoyed the table discussions and meeting ‘peers’ to discuss with. The concept of feedback and having a culture of communication that enables feedback and learning & development is something I will focus more on after this workshop. You can challenge your team members and be empathetic and personally caring at the same time. The balance between the two builds trust and a culture for continuous learning and improvement. I will take away the feedback structure and the knowledge that it’s ok to go into difficult conversations with preparation and notes.”

To wrap up

We learned that we should not avoid or put off the ‘difficult’ conversation about performance. As we implement the strategies learned, we can expect to see improved team dynamics, increased productivity and a more open and supportive company culture.

We encourage everyone to continue honing these skills and to approach difficult conversations as opportunities for growth and understanding

Get in touch

If you would like to know more about this session, and have access to the presentation and insight, we invite you to get in touch with our Head of Client Services, Victoria, via EMAIL.

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Signature Recruitment are delighted to announce that we are finalists for the 2021 Dragon Awards – Celebrating our social impact in London communities

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