What if they ask for something I can't give?

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No matter how many managers we talk to, no matter what industry, what level or location, the top “fear” we most often hear from managers when asked, “Why aren’t you having career conversations?” is always, “What if they ask for something I can’t give?”

Conversations about careers are tough any time, but they are especially difficult during times of transformation and change. Employees and managers are likely to struggle with what the changes might mean for their current role and the possibilities for the future. It’s during these times however, when conversations about careers are more important than ever. In the absence of information, people will create their own story and it’s often far worse than what’s really happening.

How can you help? Below are four simple steps for dealing with tough requests from Hello Stay Interviews Goodbye Talent Loss by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans.

1) Acknowledge the request and restate how much you value them.
2) Tell the truth about the obstacles you may face in granting their requests.
3) Care enough to look at their requests and to stand up for them.
4) Ask, “What else?” (Keep asking “what else?” – you’ll eventually get something you can work with!)

Leaders can also help employees prepare for success by talking openly and honestly about the future. You don’t need a crystal ball, just a strategic mindset about what’s changing inside and outside the organization and how it might impact each employees’ career. Then, start talking.

Learn more about how to have conversations during times of transformation and change.Learn more about how to have conversations during times of transformation and change.

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