Leaders often encounter difficult communicative situations. The goal is to master them in a way that creates a win-win situation for both sides. In this article, we give you practical tips on how you can achieve this.

In order to strike the right tone even in difficult conversations and negotiations, it is important to be able to assess the person you are talking to and to communicate in a needs-oriented way. In order to better recognise a person’s needs, there are a number of diagnosis-based analysis tools. We like to use the Riemann-Thomann model for such a rough typological assessment. But even without knowing the model, you will certainly recognise one or the other employee in the next sections and can try out our suggestions directly in the next serious conversation.


The desire of these people in a discussion is to find a solution that is as qualitative as possible and thus meets their own demands and at the same time does not have any negative consequences. They want to achieve this goal through a logical argument structure that enables them to put forward the arguments they have prepared well.

Tips for the conversation:

  • Show that the person can rely on you and your statements.
  • Argue objectively and back up your statements with facts.
  • Convey a sense of security, because the greatest fear of a person that is more distand orientated is to be criticised.
  • Answer your interlocutor’s questions and clarify all details.


You should avoid this:

  • Addressing on a personal level and building an emotional bond that was not there before.
  • Argumentation based on emotion: Threats, accusations or allegations lead to escalation and withdrawal from the conversation.
  • Wanting to bring about a quick end to the conversation and paying little attention to the interlocutor’s arguments.


Mastering unpleasant discussion situations with empathic, sociable and closeness-oriented people

Closeness-oriented people want to bring about a solution that is good for everyone and ideally also want to involve all team members in the solution process. Behind this is the desire to be respected and recognised by all. For a person with this main orientation, it is important to establish a good connection with the conversation partner during the conversation and to feel that the counterpart has invested patience and time in the conversation.


Tips for the conversation:

  • Be patient and give your counterpart the time to explain your own points of view in detail.
  • Listen to your counterpart, but always try to steer the conversation towards the sensitive issues and points of the discussion.
  • Show that you are also interested in the person you are talking to and not just in the facts of the conversation.


You should avoid this:

  • Trying to reach a conclusion too quickly without having built up a good basis of trust in a conversation.
  • Not conducting the conversation at eye level and insisting on adherence to a hierarchy.
  • Rejecting the other person’s proposals directly and without explanation, and thereby conveying to the other person that he or she is excluded from the conversation and the decision.


Creative employees, who always give new impulses and like to have influence in teams and on work processes, also want to come out of difficult discussion situations with an innovative solution proposal. It is important for these people that a positive basic mood is present and that the fun of working together is also maintained.

Tips for the conversation:

  • Try to inspire your counterpart with innovative proposals and maintain a relaxed and, if possible, informal atmosphere.
  • Point out the big picture and involve your conversation partner in the processes.
  • Give the other person space to present himself and his ideas and show that you value his commitment.


You should avoid this:

  • Objective and emphatically factual lines of argument with lots of details. Details can be better provided in text form after the interview.
  • Directly dismiss ideas and impulses.
  • Communicating from above and putting your own position first.


The goal-oriented nature of these people means that they want to implement their ideas directly and in a results-oriented manner. In difficult discussion situations and conflicts, they tend to be offended if they feel they are being defeated. However, if these people have the feeling of being recognised, they are highly motivated to implement a jointly developed solution as efficiently as possible.

Tips for the conversation:

  • Be clear about what needs to be done and don’t spend a lot of time explaining why. Make it clear that this is the most efficient solution and show the advantages of it.
  • Let your interlocutor choose between different solutions. In this way, you give your counterpart the feeling of making their own decision and of having the upper hand.
  • Keep your arguments short and concise and get to the point quickly.


You should avoid this:

  • Not being able to clearly state your own point of view and giving long speeches without getting to the point.
  • Being too friendly and dragging out the conversation.

With these skills, your next potentially difficult conversations with employees will work even better than they already do. One last tip: Don’t forget to be authentic in your own communication and use your own communication preferences skilfully!