How To Have Difficult Conversations within the EC

Document ID
Difficult Conversations
How To Have Difficult Conversations within the EC
Print Date
Prepared By
Sean Anderson
Date Prepared
Effective Date
Reviewed By 
EC Leadership Circle
Date Reviewed
Approved By
EC Leadership Circle
Date Approved


We are attempting to shape an entirely new reality at Get It Right and Milestone, where every voice is heard, where justice and equity are at the center, and where we can all be accountable to each other and ourselves. We are undertaking the work of transforming the systems of domination and hierarchy that we have all been born into and raised with, and that we carry with us in ways we often don’t understand or see. So, before you have a critical conversation with (or about) a fellow worker, please think about the following:

  • Consider the “72-hour rule” – wait 3 days to raise a concern, if it is not an immediate safety or wellness concern for students or staff. If it still matters after 3 days of waiting, it is probably worth discussing. Maybe it’s more or less than 3 days for you – the important thing is to settle your emotions before you bring critical feedback to a fellow member.
  • Assume best intent – we are all in this work by choice and by commitment, and each of us is doing the best that we can.
  • Consider the other person’s individual needs and communication preferences. If you don’t know, consider asking.
  • Consider the time and place to have the difficult conversation. No students, parents/guardians, community stakeholders, or fellow members who are not involved need to bear witness to these conversations. Difficult conversations are best had in person, face to face, so that the full range of communication (verbal, intonation, body language) can be shared and received. It is often harmful to have these conversations by text or chat. 
  • Plan ahead to use the NVC tools we are learning (Observation – Feelings – Needs – Request). Maybe write out what you experienced and how you felt – but don’t necessarily share all of that. Remember that the goal of NVC is to have difficult conversations in a way that builds connection and trust. Lead with curiosity, not judgment – and also be radically honest even when that doesn’t feel good.
  • Remember to make a distinction between the person and the object of the concern – often, we are concerned about a job not getting done, and the problem might be with the job or the organization surrounding it, more than the person who is assigned the job.
  • In all cases, aim for a meaningful closing of the process – come to new agreements, write things down, ground the work in sacredness. The goal is to move on in a better way.

Options For Having Difficult Conversations

If you feel…Then you can…
…that a one-on-one, private conversation between you and your fellow worker is the best way to approach your concern… …request that your fellow worker joins you for a private conversation. Use NVC. If at any point in the conversation either of you feels that facilitation would help, either of you can and should request to pause until a facilitator can be arranged (use the Transformative Justice Request to ask for a facilitated conversation).
…that there is an immediate concern that is bigger than a one-on-one, private conversation, and that concern has to do with the performance of a job……share your concern with the leader of your fellow worker’s Circle. Use NVC to request that they address it one-on-one or in their Circle. If a Circle Leader decides to place the concern on the agenda of the Circle’s meeting, they must alert their fellow worker ahead of time.If the concern is about the Leader of a Circle, bring it to Leadership Liaison to address in the Leadership Circle.
…that the concern reflects a need for professional development or other long-term feedback and growth……share your concern with one of your fellow worker’s Peer Coaches doing performance evaluations, and ask them to include it in their feedback.
…that your fellow worker is causing (or has caused) harm to you or to our school community, and that the harm can be repaired and transformed through a shared process of healing……use the Transformative Justice Request to initiate a process.
…that your fellow worker is causing (or has caused) harm to our school community that needs immediate action by the co-op……initiate the Collaborative Discipline and Termination procedure by requesting that the Co-op Manager, Co-op Chair, Co-op Vice Chair, and/or Co-op Secretary place an action item on the next Get It Right agenda (or requesting that they call an emergency meeting of Get It Right, if necessary).
Last updated byAnonymous on November 9, 2022
641 reads
How did you like this article?00

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *