Handling Difficult Conversations

Grievances are caused by interpersonal issues between staff, working conditions, treatment of employees by management and conduct.

Key Learning Points:

  • When difficult conversations are needed
  • The benefits of having a conversation rather than avoiding conflict
  • Preparing for a difficult conversation
  • How to ask helpful questions
  • Using difficult conversations to get results and build trust
Handling Difficult Conversations
Handling Difficult Conversations
Handling Difficult Conversations
Handling Difficult Conversations
CPD Points

Course Overview

Difficult conversations about performance, attendance or team relations are not the most enjoyable part of any manager's job. Done correctly, they can foster respect and trust, and address any budding problems before they get out of control.

Our Handling Difficult Conversation course equips managers to handle challenging moments in their teams.

Please note that this course is not yet compatible with mobile devices.

Course Details

  • Course duration: 40 minutes
  • Part of our Performance Management suite
  • Multiple-choice question assessment
  • Certificate on completion
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Course Contents

Our Handling Difficult Conversations course covers the following topics

Difficult conversations can be hard on both parties and good preparation makes them go more smoothly. This course explores what to do in advance of a difficult conversation with an employee to ensure it achieves what it needs to and gets the best outcome for both sides of the conversation.
As a manager, it can be hard to manage difficult conversations well – especially if you have your own anxiety about bringing up the subject. The course covers subjects such as asking the right questions, keeping the conversation on track, body language and how to respond if an employee becomes upset by feedback.
Following Up
Following Up
Most difficult conversations are part of a larger process rather than single events. It is important to follow up to check on progress and also to support the employee in any way you can. This course includes a guide for following up with employees in the aftermath of difficult conversations.

Who Should Take This Course?

The Handling Difficult Conversations course is particularly useful for anyone who manages staff.

  • Supervisors
  • Team leads
  • Heads of department
  • Managers of large or small teams
  • HR staff

The Assessment

Handling Difficult Conversations includes a "Check Your Knowledge" assessment module. The assessment is in a multiple-choice question format, covering everything set out in the Handling Difficult Conversations course. Learners must achieve a mark of 80% or above to pass.

2 Ways of Purchasing

You can purchase our courses individually or for even better value you can purchase the complete range of Compliance, Health and Safety or Performance Management courses in one neat bundle.

1. Individual Licenses

If you buy courses on an individual bases you pay a price per learner, per course per year. You can run these courses on your own LMS if Xapi/SCORM compliant or you can take them.

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2. Complete Bundle

Buy all of the Compliance, Health and Safety or Performance Management courses in one great value package and receive unlimited benefits.

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1. Individual Pricing

Number of Learners Cost (per year)
1 - 10 29 / per learner
11 - 20 25 / per learner
21 - 50 20 / per learner
51 - 100 15 / per learner
101 - 150 10 / per learner
150+ POA

Exchange rates are updated regularly but are only intended as a guide.

2. Complete Bundle Pricing

If you buy all the Compliance, Health & Safety or Performance Management in a complete bundle, all features come as standard, no matter the size of your organisation!

Number of Learners Cost (per year)
1 - 100 30 / per learner
101 - 200 25 / per learner
201 - 300 21 / per learner
301 - 400 18 / per learner
401 - 500 15 / per learner
501 - 750 12.50 / per learner
751 - 1000 10 / per learner
1001 - 2500 8 / per learner
2501 - 5000 6 / per learner
5000 - 10,000 5 / per learner
10,000 + POA
Included Features
  • All courses in our catalogue
  • New courses added regularly
  • Branded, downloadable posters
  • Customise Course Content for Your Team
  • Astute eLearning Platform
  • Regular course updates
  • Dedicated Account Manager
  • Unlimited help desk support

Exchange rates are updated regularly but are only intended as a guide. Prices are based on a 2 year contract.

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The Importance of Handling Difficult Conversations Training

No manager relishes having difficult conversations with their staff. It can be tempting to avoid them altogether but this is never the best option: problems can escalate and staff will feel like issues have not been raised with them early enough.

When addressing performance issues, sensitivity, preparation, tone and body language can all be important. Training helps managers to navigate these challenges.

The Importance of Handling Difficult Conversations Training


If you have any questions that are not covered here, please get in touch.

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What is a difficult conversation at work?
A difficult conversation at work is any discussion between an employee and their manager that could cause tension. They can be about sensitive topics such as performance, attendance and punctuality, or the employee’s conduct and attitude. Conversations about possible redundancies or job security would also fall into this category.
How do you tell an employee to improve their attitude?
Telling an employee to improve their attitude would fall within the “difficult conversations” category that all managers should receive training to handle. It would be a good start to have concrete examples of when the attitude has affected their work rather than relying on subjective perceptions.
How do you start a conversation with an employee about performance?
A conversation with an employee about performance should be clear and direct, but give clear guidance on how to improve and express the manager’s confidence in the employee’s ability to fix the situation with support. To avoid misunderstandings, it is better to address the issues directly but in a supportive manner.

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