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Difficult Conversations: How to Confront the Elephant in the Room

Difficult Conversations: How to Confront the Elephant in the Room
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Author(s): Tara Coleman (Kansas State University, USA)
Copyright: 2021
Pages: 21
Source title: The Emotional Self at Work in Higher Education
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Ingrid Ruffin (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA) and Charissa Powell (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3519-6.ch004


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Conflict is challenging, and factors such as cultural lens, emotions, power dynamics, and social capital influence how, why, and if you will respond. In an environment where getting along is expected, people can feel internal or external pressure to acquiesce so as not to rock the boat. Avoiding conflict and difficult conversations to get along can manifest into stress, anxiety, and other emotions that can make being productive and happy in the workplace difficult. There may be no way to make conflict feel good, but there are things that can be done to make conflict less painful. This chapter will analyze why conflict and difficult conversations can be challenging, offer advice on how to make the conversation more bearable and productive, as well as when it is ok to avoid it all together.

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