For all you leaders out there navigating difficult conversations and don’t have enough acronyms in your life (iykyk lol fyi):
E – Empathise by seeking to understand what might be going on for the other person. What are their dreams, hopes, fears, doubts, goals and insecurities that they’ll be bringing to this conversation?
A – Ask questions that enable you to better understand where the other person is coming from and how they hope to move forward. Questions like: What’s difficult about this for you? What does success look like for you moving forward? How would you like to be supported?
R – Reflect back what you have heard the other person say using their words.
S – State what moving forward might look like based on what you know and everything that has been said (remember: concise is nice).
Most people fear difficult conversations because they’re afraid of what the other person might say. So afraid, in fact, that they avoid even having the conversation.
When in doubt: acknowledge that the conversation you’re about to have is difficult and then use your EARS (see what I did there?)