In the previous part of this lesson, we looked at a critical conversation gone awry. Let us debrief as to why it happened. What exactly did Arun do for Vivek to get angry? In the course of this lesson, we shall also outline what is expected of the managers when it comes to handling critical conversations.
Take this lesson to learn more and don’t forget to take the accompanying quiz at the end of the lesson.
In the previous lesson, we saw how a disappointed Vivek reacted about a promotion that he did not secure and Arun’s subsequent conduct.
But can we fault Arun for Vivek’s conduct?
What Arun got wrong
When the IJP result was published, Arun was hesitant to have a conversation with Vivek. He was afraid it would not go well and this would further upset Vivek.
Instead of facing the issue head-on, Arun chose to run away from it.
This was Arun’s first major failure.
Arun had assumed that being a practical and jovial person, Vivek would bounce back from this loss within a few days.
But to Arun’s disappointment, Vivek’s behaviour underwent a drastic change.
Arun’s second major failing came when he finally decided to speak with Vivek, a good nine days later, but handled the conversation poorly, which ended in a showdown. In the wake of this fallout, Vivek decided to leave the company.
Why Vivek behaved like he did
Vivek was disappointed with the IJP failure, but what upset him even more, was Arun’s careless attitude towards this failure. Arun hadn’t even bothered to speak to Vivek about the missed promotion.
The absence of clarity and closure to the matter led Vivek to display his displeasure in negative ways, leading him to finally decide to quit.
Arun’s behaviour is hardly unique. A survey by people development major, VitalSmarts, indicates that when people have concerns, instead of speaking up, they choose to indulge in one or more resource-sapping behaviours such as:
a. Complaining to others,
b. Doing extra or unnecessary work,
c. Ruminating about the problem, or
d. Getting angry
Arun failed to understand this aspect of human nature, which needed him to intervene and manage what Vivek was undergoing. Instead, he first shirked the issue and then handled it poorly.
Many Managers Handle Critical Conversations Badly
It’s often easier for managers to brush difficult issues under the rug, as opposed to rising to the challenge of handling tough situations. They fear upsetting employees.
But as we have seen in Vivek and Arun’s case, failure to handle critical conversations with empathy and tact can have negative consequences.
More on the consequences of avoiding or delaying critical conversations will be covered in detail in the next lesson in this module.
For now, please take the accompanying quiz.