Why You Should 'DARE' to Have Difficult Conversations in the Workplace


Having difficult conversations in the workplace helps develop strong leaders. On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, CEW hosted its fifth Young Executive event where attendees listened to the founder of Speaking Rights, Janet Tarasofsky, discuss the consequences of holding back from confronting challenging situations. 

During her speech, Tarasofsky disclosed that "a recent study in the U.S. revealed that 70% of U.S. workers avoid conflict." To ensure these conversations are properly handled, Tarasofsky developed what she calls the "DARE Strategy."


  • "Diagnose three areas of how having this conversation can benefit your company and establish what will motivate you to make this conversation happen... What is driving the behavior of the person you are having the discussion with and align yourself with this; all of which can be learned through asking questions."


  • "Acknowledge yourself. The second step... involves acknowledging your own biases and personal style that can influence how the conversation may go. Understanding that our language can be interpreted differently by the people we speak to is vital."


  • "Recognizing the behavior of the addressee is vital in order to ensure that conversations are successful, this will ensure that the tone is reflected and you can be confident that the timing is appropriate to approach conflict."


  • "Lastly, it is imperative that you find the motivation to have this conversation. Your values are just as important as everybody else’s, find what is driving you to inspire the conversation. The most critical question that should be considered is: “What are the consequences of not having this conversation?"

Difficult workplace situations—equal pay, sexual harassment, etc.,—have been buzzy topics on the rise for the past couple of years. Whether the conversations focus on topics such as these or a coworker's less-than-pleasant attitude, Tarasofsky believes when "courageous conversations" are had they result in a happier work environment.

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