By Sunny Simon

     When I realized I was scheduled to see Jamila today, I began wondering if she did her homework. The last time we met she committed to having a rather sensitive conversation with her boss. It was a tricky situation that was not going to resolve itself. Jamila needed to confront, Maggie, her manager, about taking credit for her work.

     Taking all the glory certainly isn’t fair and yet it is not uncommon in the corporate world for the boss to take an undeserved bow at the expense of a subordinate. Perhaps it can be overlooked once, maybe even twice, but in Jamila’s case it was looking like the new normal. A normal that was causing her self-worth to plummet.

     What’s the magic formula for making Maggie offer up credit where it’s due? It’s certainly not an exact science. Engaging in this type of conversation and coming out a winner begins with diligent preparation.

     Jamila needs to check her emotions at the door and muster up some tact and diplomacy. She should begin by stating the problem without placing blame. It may even be okay to let Maggie save face  if she claims it was done unintentionally, after all Jamila loves her job and doesn’t want to create any major waves.

     Initiating tough discussions isn’t easy, but necessary. Whether you’re dealing with your boss, a coworker or the individual you hired to remodel your kitchen, you deserve fair and equitable treatment. Addressing the situation puts the other party on notice and, if handled correctly, you reach a compatible resolution. 

     Need to have “the talk” with that certain person who is causing you angst? Here are some rules. Set up the meeting in an appropriate environment. Always converse face-to-face. Human components, like body language, are necessary to convey the complete message. Togetherness is also a requirement whether ending the meeting with a hand-shake, or a hug.

     Next, be clear on your intent which is to develop a clear understanding of how to move forward and interact in the future. Begin by being direct. State your case in a non-confrontational manner, keep your voice tone moderate, explain the situation, then relinquish the floor. Do some active listening and take in the other’s point of view.

     Understand that conflict at work, or at home, is going to happen. There is an art to handling a tricky conversation. Work on your conflict resolution skills. It’s  important to address critical issues. When you do, remember to think it through,  use the right words and appropriate tone.  Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at