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Managing a "Critical Conversation": It is Not Just What you Say, But How You Say It

90 Minutes
6 months
Webinar Id:
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Recorded Version

$195. One Participant

Recorded Version: Unlimited viewing for 6 months ( Access information will be emailed 24 hours after the completion of live webinar)

"The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute's criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit."

"This program, has been approved for 1 (General ) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. Please be sure to note the program ID number on your recertification application form. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HR Certification Institute website at"

Overview: This program will provide an overview of how to manage critical conversations. In addition, it will provide a structured format for initiating and implementing these types of conversations complete with "tips and techniques" to facilitate a successful outcome. And finally, a list of resources in order for participants to gain more knowledge and experience on their own will also be made available.

Interpersonal conflicts, decrease in performance, policy breaches, layoffs, inappropriate behavior in the workplace… are some of the examples when a supervisory personnel must approach a worker to have a "critical conversation." Frequently, there are expectations for both parties (the supervisor as well as the employee) and a lot hinges on how this conversation goes.

Often managers/supervisors/department heads are faced with having to talk with an employee about their performance or behavior in the workplace. From performance reviews to disciplinary reprimands supervisors are called upon to provide direct feedback to a workforce that is increasingly diverse in gender, age, and ethnicity. Further, as changes impact the workplace, managing the morale and increased demands becomes a critical component for any supervisor. Yet, the majority of supervisors report that they receive very limited training in how to provide this critical component of their job. Others explain that they often feel that "things were worse" after the discussion.

Vague or general workplace policies as well as concerns about potential litigation make if increasingly difficult for supervisory personnel to know exactly how to approach a critical conversation with an employee.

Why you should attend: What we don't learn in college or with an MBA… is how to conduct difficult conversations. Given that the economy is driving the workplace to demand higher levels of performance with an increased sense of anxiety among workers, supervisors of all levels are finding themselves in situations where they must "counsel" their reports. However, these critical conversations are often approached with limited training and experience. While it is not "rocket science," there are some skills and strategies that can make these critical conversations easier for all parties involved. Further, this program will provide "tips and techniques" that will assure an increased level of successful outcome.

Areas Covered In the Session:
  • The types of "critical conversations" that are now required in the workplace
  • How to prepare yourself for a critical conversation.
  • How to prepare the employee for a critical conversation
  • The "dos" and "don'ts" of critical conversations.
  • How to set up the structure of the critical conversation.
  • How to follow-up

Who will benefit:
  • First line supervisors to senior department heads
  • Anyone in a supervisory position who is responsible for the performance of other employees
  • Human Resources
  • Labor Union Representatives
  • Employee Relations Personnel

Dr. Lewis, an international consultant and trainer, has worked with national and international government agencies, healthcare facilities, educational institutions and private businesses on a wide range of work, behavioral health and organizational issues. His focus is facilitating organizational recovery and resiliency with the emphasis on “people-recovery."

He has authored numerous articles and three books: Critical Incident Stress and Trauma in the Workplace (1994) and Workplace Hostility: Myth & Reality (co-author, 1998) and Organizational Crisis Management: The Human Factor (2006). In addition, he contributed the chapter, "Violence at Work: Causes and Protection" in Psychopathology in the Workplace: Recognition and Adaptation, edited by Thomas, J. and Hersen, M., Bruner-Rutledge, NY, 2004.

In 1986, he founded COMPASS, providing Employee Assistance Programs, management consultation, organizational development, employee training and education, pre-employment screening and fitness for duty evaluations.

He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Boston University and Clark University teaching a variety of courses on the human side of business contingency planning and emergency management. During the summers of 2009 & 2010, he taught in Israel (through Clark University). In addition, he is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Norwich University Master of Science in Business Continuity Management (MSBC) and is also an Adjunct Professor.

He provides litigation consultation/expert testimony in the areas of: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sexual harassment, workplace violence, fitness for duty, negligent retention/termination, Americans with Disabilities, malpractice, depression, etc.

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