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Train Managers to Master Difficult Conversations

Stop avoiding, freezing, or giving in when the going gets tough.

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  • Difficult conversations can be hard to approach as they cover workplace conflicts and topics such as delivering bad news, apologizing, asking for something, and discussing sensitive subjects.
  • Managers, like the rest of employees, avoid these difficult conversations because they do not have the confidence, experience, or methodology to approach them effectively.
  • When managers avoid difficult conversations they negatively impact employee productivity and engagement, take up time from the human resources department, and can cost the organization thousands of dollars.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • When managers avoid difficult conversations, they are not fully carrying out their role as an employee with people responsibilities who is required to communicate to get things done.
  • Getting managers to start facing difficult conversations and handling them effectively starts off with training and continues after the session is over with support from peers, HR, and the organization.
  • The McLean & Company Difficult Conversations EASE Framework can help managers through a challenging conversation by guiding them through the appropriate pre-work, engaging the employee in conversation, absorbing the employee’s point of view, sharing their own perspective, and ending the conversation with actionable next steps and follow-up.

Impact and Result

  • Decrease managers’ avoidance of difficult conversations and get them to stop freezing and giving in when it comes time to face them.
  • Increase managers' success rate with handling a difficult conversation.
  • Free up time for HR that can be spent on more value-added activities that positively impact the organization.

Train Managers to Master Difficult Conversations Research & Tools

2. LMS Training – Difficult Conversations at Work: Reflect on Strengths and Opportunities for Improvement

Equip your managers to reflect on their strengths and opportunities for improvement while handling difficult conversations with their employees by importing an interactive eLearning module into your business’ existing learning management system.

3. LMS Training – Difficult Conversations at Work: Practice and Plan Effective Strategies

Help managers have increased confidence through gaining a methodology for having difficult conversations and a safe environment to practice delivering them effectively by importing an interactive eLearning module into your business’ existing learning management system.

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About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 1-phase advisory process. You'll receive 1 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

  • Call 1: Prepare managers to navigate difficult conversations.


  • Judy Ringer, Conflict & Communications Specialist, Author, and Coach, Power and Presence Training
  • Craig Dowden (Ph.D.), Managing Director, SPBOrganizational Psychology
  • Caroline Williams, Director of Education and Learning, Spark Training and Coaching Associates Inc.
  • James A. Whyte, Owner, Sebastian Group Ltd.
  • Manager, Learning & Organizational Development, Engineering Consulting
  • Jodie Barley, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Beth Collins-Kelly, Human Resources Generalist, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Ashley McFarlane, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Jenny Tennebaum, The HIROC Group
  • Jennifer Heikamp, The Regional Municipality of York