Navigating Difficult Conversations Module (with Skill Sheet)
Submitted by Collegiate Leadership Competition
August 27, 2019
Ethics & Social Justice, Human Resources & Organizational Behavior, Strategy & General Management
confront, Skills, conflicts, problem solving, Excercise
Area of Study:
Faculty/Researchers, Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Executive Education
This module includes: 1.) curriculum related to CLC’s model for difficult conversations including the CONFRONT acronym, teaching notes, reflection questions, and more; 2.) two classroom exercises to help students practice the model and apply their learning; 3.) the CONFRONT Skill Sheet (i.e., rubric) for measuring student growth and helping educators guide the debriefing process after the exercises have been completed. Because stress and conflict are often present in teams, leaders who are skilled at having difficult conversations have a distinct advantage. The CONFRONT acronym is a simple process for navigating difficult conversations. First, in a precise manner, communicate the behavior that is causing a problem (e.g., arriving late, not following through, negativity). During this step, owning your statement (e.g., it’s coming from you, not others) is critical. Next, name the impact of the behavior on you or the group, then pause, and fully listen to the other person to hear their side of what’s occurred. Based on what you hear, it’s important to pause, reflect, and then respond and discuss options moving forward. At this point, there is often some level of disagreement that exists, so it will be important to negotiate a solution. Upon resolution, repeat what each side has committed to and be sure to thank the other individual for having the discussion. Collegiate Leadership Competition is a nonprofit organization focused on researching leadership development and using that knowledge to create resources that will help move the field of leadership education forward. CLC’s underlying theory is that leadership skills are primarily strengthened through deliberate practice.