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How to Maintain Your Values When the Message is Difficult

August 22, 2013 by Bruce Jones, Programming Director, Disney Institute


There are certain messages that no one likes to receive. It can be even more difficult delivering these messages. Do your rules change when the message is difficult?

The way you deliver a difficult message will convey several things about the status of your culture. This is when the values of your organization are front and center, you’ve talked the talk, now it’s time to walk the walk.

What happens when a difficult conversation is delivered poorly?

Your culture is undermined by the overarching message that your values are not really your values. Think about the “water cooler talk” your employees will have about a leader who handles a difficult conversation poorly. The message between your employees is that accountability is lacking — another sign of cultural undermining.

What do you get from a difficult conversation that is delivered well?

Authenticity and trust are built when leaders practice what they preach. Handling a difficult conversation calmly and respectfully reinforces the values of the organization through the leader’s actions. Depending on the situation, the handling of a difficult conversation can be the difference between the long-term success or future of an employee.

Strong leaders will consider the feelings of the recipient while holding true to the organization’s values. The effectiveness of your delivery could be the difference between losing and “rescuing” an employee.

Have you ever delivered or received a difficult message? What made that message effective or ineffective? Share your story in the comments below.

Image: F Delventhal / Flickr


Posted in Leadership Excellence | Tagged Leadership Skills, Leadership Models, Effective Management, Corporate Culture, Team Building, Communication Skills, Bruce Jones | 1 Comments


1 Responses to How to Maintain Your Values When the Message is Difficult

  • Edward says:

    on August 23, 2013

    The difficult conversations demonstrate the inner value of an organization. The actions of the leaders define the organization. I have received difficult information from one employer. In another position I have had to implement the decisions of the management. In each case the leader spoke from a personal view of how it wasn't working out. Never was the receiving party's feelings or situation taken into account. The verbally expressed values of the organization were disregarded.


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