Having difficult conversations

Author: Kathleen Bokrossy, RDHU
RDHU offers online and in-person training for Dental Hygienists.

It is not healthy to continue to live in an environment or around someone who is bothering you. And sometimes, by having a much needed difficult conversation, the issue can be resolved.

It won’t be easy, but it is necessary.

Many of us keep quiet when things are bothering us. We let things go. We may bring home our frustrations. We may share our complaints with others and in the end, the stress just gets to us. If something is bothering you at your office, it is important to recognize the feelings and take action. Having these negative feelings is an energy drainer. If we don’t act on figuring out a resolution, these negative feelings become energy vampires and need to be addressed.

To have a difficult conversation:

  1. Before going into the conversation ask yourself: What is your purpose for having the conversation? What do you hope to accomplish? What would be an ideal outcome?
  2. Be prepared. Be clear on the situation that is upsetting you.
  3. Schedule a meeting or time to talk.
  4. Make notes to bring to the conversation.
  5. Be open to listening to their side. Look at their perspective.
  6. Be prepared with a suggestion for a resolution.

You can also start with a ‘love ~ hate’ kind of message in the opening sentence.

For example, Pat, I love/like you on our team, but I hate or use “don’t like” (as my mam always taught me to never use the word hate!) the way that you do this (ie. gossip, never show up for the morning huddle, late coming in, complain about tasks, taking accolades for tasks that they didn’t do, not pulling his/her weight etc.). After stating the situation, ask them their thoughts. Let them speak while you listen.

This way, you are starting the difficult conversation with a positive, but then letting this person know that what they are doing isn’t ok.

Making people aware that they are doing things that are affecting the morale or culture of the office is a difficult conversation, but one that should be rewarding after.

If the person doesn’t change even after they have been made aware that their behaviour isn’t ok, perhaps it is time that they move on, or if you can’t take that negative energy any longer and cannot make change happen, perhaps you are the one that needs to move on (depending on the situation).

About the Author: Kathleen Bokrossy, RDHU
Kathleen Bokrossy, RDH has been bringing engaging energy to the dental profession for over 30 years. Kathleen is the founder and president of rdhu Inc., publisher for the Dental Hygiene Quarterly and the producer and cast member of The RDH View.  An interactive and popular presenter, Kathleen is a key opinion leader for Curion, Crest+Oral-B, and Ivoclar Vivadent. She is passionate about making change happen and ensures that every program she presents will ignite a spark in the dental hygienist to implement change in their practice!