Difficult discussions at work

Illustrative representation of Difficult discussions at work

Even in the best workplaces there may be times when issues arise. Sometimes they will be minor and will be easily worked out.

But sometimes the situation will be more complex. When a problem arises, decide whether speaking to your manager is the best approach.

Although it can be hard, it’s important that you try to deal with workplace issues straight away, otherwise they can get worse.

You may not feel able to speak with your manager, because of the seriousness of the issue or because you feel your manager is part of the problem (for example if you have been the subject of discrimination). In this case, you could speak to a more senior manager, a Human Resources officer or the Fair Work Ombudsman.

How to approach a difficult conversation

  • Be prepared. Have all the facts and relevant information with you at your discussion.
  • Plan what you want to say and what you want to get out of the conversation. This will give you a better chance of resolving the issue.
  • Try to be open and flexible to the options and you and your employer should be able to find the solution that best suits everyone involved.
  • Remember, your employer may be unaware they have done anything wrong, so make sure you try to remain calm during any discussions.
  • Know where you can go for further support or advice.

Need more information?

Learn about the steps you can follow and tips for having a difficult conversation with the Unfair treatment at work video from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

These tools and resources can help you:

…Or you can browse Job Jumpstart for other ideas and suggestions of what to do next.