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Difficult Conversations (HBR 20-Minute Manager Series)

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You have to talk with a colleague about a fraught situation, but you’re worried that they’ll yell, or blame you, or shut down. You fear your emotions could block you from a resolution. But you can communicate in a way that’s constructive—not combative. Difficult Conversations walks you through: • Uncovering the root cause of friction • Maintaining a positive mind-set • Un You have to talk with a colleague about a fraught situation, but you’re worried that they’ll yell, or blame you, or shut down. You fear your emotions could block you from a resolution. But you can communicate in a way that’s constructive—not combative. Difficult Conversations walks you through: • Uncovering the root cause of friction • Maintaining a positive mind-set • Untangling the problem together • Agreeing on a way forward Don't have much time? Get up to speed fast on the most essential business skills with HBR's 20-Minute Manager series. Whether you need a crash course or a brief refresher, each book in the series is a concise, practical primer that will help you brush up on a key management topic. Advice you can quickly read and apply, for ambitious professionals and aspiring executives—from the most trusted source in business. Also available as an ebook.


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You have to talk with a colleague about a fraught situation, but you’re worried that they’ll yell, or blame you, or shut down. You fear your emotions could block you from a resolution. But you can communicate in a way that’s constructive—not combative. Difficult Conversations walks you through: • Uncovering the root cause of friction • Maintaining a positive mind-set • Un You have to talk with a colleague about a fraught situation, but you’re worried that they’ll yell, or blame you, or shut down. You fear your emotions could block you from a resolution. But you can communicate in a way that’s constructive—not combative. Difficult Conversations walks you through: • Uncovering the root cause of friction • Maintaining a positive mind-set • Untangling the problem together • Agreeing on a way forward Don't have much time? Get up to speed fast on the most essential business skills with HBR's 20-Minute Manager series. Whether you need a crash course or a brief refresher, each book in the series is a concise, practical primer that will help you brush up on a key management topic. Advice you can quickly read and apply, for ambitious professionals and aspiring executives—from the most trusted source in business. Also available as an ebook.

30 review for Difficult Conversations (HBR 20-Minute Manager Series)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Venera Arakelyan

    Simple, short and to the point. "... It's not about being smooth or talking a good game - It's about making it a priority to be your best self even in the most challenging situations." Simple, short and to the point. "... It's not about being smooth or talking a good game - It's about making it a priority to be your best self even in the most challenging situations."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Umair Aslam

    A primer on why candour is important when it comes to difficult conversations. Don't stop with this though and keep reading up on this. A primer on why candour is important when it comes to difficult conversations. Don't stop with this though and keep reading up on this.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mark Muckerman

    Not bad, and a good starting point of framework if you're just starting to tackle the challenge of how to have (effective) difficult conversations. However, even as part of the "20 Minute Manager" series from HBR (which is usually pretty good), this only should qualify as a "10 Minute Manager" asset - too thin. . . If you really want a helpful framework and developmental asset to having better difficult conversations, I'd suggest Difficult Conversations, by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Not bad, and a good starting point of framework if you're just starting to tackle the challenge of how to have (effective) difficult conversations. However, even as part of the "20 Minute Manager" series from HBR (which is usually pretty good), this only should qualify as a "10 Minute Manager" asset - too thin. . . If you really want a helpful framework and developmental asset to having better difficult conversations, I'd suggest Difficult Conversations, by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen. Much deeper and specific in guidance and perspectives. I received my first copy as a tactful gift from a co-worker in 2003, and I found it so helpful in reframing conversations that I make a point of re-reading it every January to help re-frame my communication perspective for each new year, and I also provide a copy to every new hire I bring into my team(s).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kari Olfert

    Delivers what it says it will deliver. Difficult convos are broken down to understanding them, seeing what's what, identifying the emotions, big picture perspective, effective framing, listening and responding with understanding, remaining flexible, finding things you agree on and doing it all over again. Delivers what it says it will deliver. Difficult convos are broken down to understanding them, seeing what's what, identifying the emotions, big picture perspective, effective framing, listening and responding with understanding, remaining flexible, finding things you agree on and doing it all over again.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Scarletredish Rack

    Quick read that provides valuable insight on how clear communication can be a valuable asset to any group of people or in an organization.

  6. 4 out of 5

    N. Ray

    I think this is a handy little book for gaining insight on how to navigate workplace and personal conflict. The scenarios are specific to the workplace, however the tools are certainly there to be used in relationships beyond that. It’s short, to the point, and if you have a couple hours, can be read in that timeframe. I think if we were all more aware of our triggers and further considered, on a regular basis, that there might be more going on with the other person that we’re having conflict wi I think this is a handy little book for gaining insight on how to navigate workplace and personal conflict. The scenarios are specific to the workplace, however the tools are certainly there to be used in relationships beyond that. It’s short, to the point, and if you have a couple hours, can be read in that timeframe. I think if we were all more aware of our triggers and further considered, on a regular basis, that there might be more going on with the other person that we’re having conflict with AND make the effort to resolve with the desire to truly understand where things are going wrong, the world would be a phenomenally better place. I recommend this book as a launchpad for bettering all of your relationships.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Auriane Sauv

    Each to there own. People might find this book a bit cliché and full of conventional wisdom, but for me this book says a lot with little words, cut to the chase, short and totally useful. Haven’t put the wisdom to use yet, though should help us humans restrain from acting out of instinct, which undeniably the culprit behind most troubles.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Darya

    The book is very good for a starter in difficult situations resolving and communicating. It does provide a comprehensive and well structured practical approach in dealing with businesses situations that need some clarity or have a conflict in place. I loved some nice tips and think the book is very valuable.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    I believe everyone entering the work force should read this. Even if you are not entering management. It gives great tips on how to handle engagement between colleagues. Was it what I was looking for Exactly? No. However HBR provides a quick read with great engagement.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ilona

    Short and useful.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Of all the books in the series, this was the least engaging. Not too much to report on this one

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gabriele MaZa

    It's a very small and short book, so still worth reading besides the three stars that I gave. You can find some nice examples, situations and theoretical solutions to it. It's a very small and short book, so still worth reading besides the three stars that I gave. You can find some nice examples, situations and theoretical solutions to it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    A good book with valuable bullet points, but I was hoping for a little more about how to have difficult conversations as a manager, not as a colleague.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shalvi Sharma

    A quick 20-minute guide to manage a difficult conversation.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Channon Brooks

    Good Read Simple and to the point. I also appreciate the additional resources at the end of the book. A good read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A good little book to give you some general advice and starting points to begin to tackle difficult conversations. While it's aimed for being used in the workplace it's a good life skill to have. A good little book to give you some general advice and starting points to begin to tackle difficult conversations. While it's aimed for being used in the workplace it's a good life skill to have.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bruno

    Short and concise with effective tips for NEW, or inexperienced managers who haven’t dealt with conflict at work.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Aruna

    Practical quick read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bizzy Day

    Quick read with practical, easy to take advice. I read it before a big meeting and it increased my confidence tenfold. Something I'll continue to use again and again! Quick read with practical, easy to take advice. I read it before a big meeting and it increased my confidence tenfold. Something I'll continue to use again and again!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maher Chaar

    Quick and informative read!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kit Yung Tan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jim Nelson

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jay

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jassen Jackman

  25. 5 out of 5

    Miguel González

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tynisha

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ishwar Anand

    When you design a structure or an object there is no value for a lie or poor design as such design has a tendency to fail under given circumstances. This will lead to harm safety of people and organization reputation. To stop this difficult conversation is very important. Challenging if you have doubt, not feeling like people will mock on your ideas or reviews, relationships based on hierarchy and feeling not able to cross a level and stopping ideas and flow of required information in middle. To When you design a structure or an object there is no value for a lie or poor design as such design has a tendency to fail under given circumstances. This will lead to harm safety of people and organization reputation. To stop this difficult conversation is very important. Challenging if you have doubt, not feeling like people will mock on your ideas or reviews, relationships based on hierarchy and feeling not able to cross a level and stopping ideas and flow of required information in middle. To avoid all these issues one shall have an idea of this topic and this is best to start with.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Abhilash Jacob Philip

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jade Meneve

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