How to Confront a Liar

Dear Crucial Skills, Do you have advice on how to confront a liar? Normal confrontation does not work as they just spin more lies. Signed, Being Spun ______________________ Dear Being Spun, Do I know how to confront lying? Hey, I raised five teenagers. You’ve come to the right place! You wrote only two sentences, so […]

How to Motivate an Undervalued Workforce

Dear Joseph, Currently, the large organization I work for is undergoing a change of ownership. There are many employees and leaders here who have been with the company for 20+ years. With the change of ownership, the financials are being scrutinized. We are told there will be layoffs—which there have been every year for the […]

Crucial Conversations via Email

Dear Crucial Skills, Having successfully used and trained Crucial Conversations for many years, I believe in its efficacy for making difficult communication easier, more respectful, and more productive. My question is around whether it’s ever preferable to preface a crucial conversation by using email. Might this pave the way for a more congenial exchange later […]

How to Change Someone’s Opinion of You

Dear Crucial Skills, Last year, our department’s vice president was laid off and the entire group was moved under the Director of Operations, someone I didn’t know very well. Since the change, he has not made much of an effort to get to know our team and I have had only a handful of interactions […]

How to Get Respect From the Boss

Dear Crucial Skills, My boss and I have weekly one-on-one meetings. During these meetings, he frequently takes phone calls from his family, gets up in the middle of a discussion to use his personal restroom, and allows workers to just barge in to talk to him. I’m very frustrated with these interactions but he is […]

How to End a Relationship Stand-Off

Dear Crucial Skills, I work with clients who are in conflict with each other. Their “stories” about the other person make resolution impossible. They’ve been in conflict with each other for so long that they are convinced that their judgments are facts. For example, they are both convinced the other person is a jerk, a […]

Resolving a Sibling Rivalry

Dear Crucial Skills, My father passed away last summer after a six-month battle from mesothelioma. I was named as financial power and my sister as medical power of attorney in my parents’ will. My older brother went ballistic. Since then, he’s tried taking control of everything surrounding my Dad, my parent’s house, and now my […]

How to Be on the Receiving End of a Crucial Conversation

Dear Crucial Skills, I’ve gained a lot from using crucial conversations skills in my life, but always as the initiator. What I feel less skilled at is being on the receiving end of criticism. My last relationship ended partly because my partner and I could not come to an agreement about my children. In that […]

How to Address Bad Body Odor

Dear Joseph, My son tells me his roommate at college has a body odor issue. It has become so bad that my son stays at his girlfriend’s more often than not. He has mentioned to his roommate that there is a terrible odor in the room, but hasn’t gone much farther than that. He did […]

Tips to Battle Unconscious Bias

Dear Crucial Skills, Five months ago, I started a job at an all-girls private, Catholic, school. I work as a technician and accepted the job because it combines my interest in instructional education and computer hardware and software troubleshooting. It also pays well above what I’ve earned in the past. I’m a woman, and my […]