Saturday Shoutout!!! – Dealing With The Tough Stuff

Issue 4 | Number 10 | 20 July 2013

Dealing With The Tough Stuff (Conversations)

In their book, Dealing With The Tough StuffAlison HillDarren Hill and Dr Sean Richardson know that as a leader, supervisor or manager, there’s one inevitable task that we will encounter – the tough conversation.  In an AHRI Brisbane presentation, Alison Hill suggested that whether it’s addressing underperformance, critiquing work or dealing with heightened emotions, some situations with some people will be tough – there’s no escaping it.

What’s tough for you?

Haven’t you had a tough-stuff conversation where you have sat back and thought to yourself, “I could have done that differently”, and it weighed heavily on you for a while.  A feeling of, “If I could change this then the outcome would have been different?”

Every situation when having crucial conversations is completely different! What is tough for you, may not be tough for others.  Having personal insight into what situations are particularly tough for you will guide you where you make changes in your behaviour.  There are no 7 easy steps to crucial conversations in tough situations. There are no difficult people.  The moment you label someone as difficult  is the moment you get that behaviour.

Tackling the tough stuff in the workplace takes courage.  But it takes everyday, ordinary courage of deliberate action.  It takes courage to stop avoiding situations, to say ‘enough is enough’ and to step up and be accountable.

Strengths Based Language

Looking towards a person’s strengths is a key strategy for personal growth, and so too, is using positive based strengths language.

If you use negative language, and to make it worse, use a trait, we make it incredibly difficulty, if not impossible for people to make meaningful change in their behaviour.  The likely response is going to be either defensive or aggressive.  At all times, look for ways to turn helpful traits into positive strength-based traits – from here you will be able to move from traits into behaviours.

You need to develop behaviour roadmaps so you know what to do next time.  And then it will become more clearer.

Visit where you will find an array of templates, articles and blog spots that you will find useful and which are regularly updated.

Who is Alison Hill?  As a professional ‘head-mechanic’ Ali has worked with ’em all. From high-falutin’ Executives through to people suffering with chronic pain (hey, they might actually be the same!) Alison specialises in assisting individuals and teams transition through the tough stuff. We really love working with Alison at Pragmatic Thinking…she actually listens to us; like, err without even checking Facebook or Instagram or stuff; it’s a unique skill.

Graphics: Pragmatic Thinking

Source: Material for this blog was taken from a presentation by Alison Hill at the AHRI Queensland Performance and Reward Forum Network on 16 July 2012 in Brisbane.

About the Author. To fulfil his professional and personal career aspirations, Tony Wiggins created ‘The HR Architect’ brand in 2009.  With a well-grounded focus and passion for HR, he thrives on working across his networks as a thought leader in ‘making a difference’ in the HR arena.

Tony Wiggins is the Founder and UX Editor of Saturday Shoutout!!! and The HR Architect ConnectTony utilises the blog ‘The HR Architect’ as a social media network and platform that empowers HR professionals to network, assist and support one another, spanning different countries, subcultures and niches.

Contact Tony at or @tonywiggin on Twitter.

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