HR & Management

It's easier to end a relationship than it is to ask for a pay rise

4 min read

30 July 2015

Former deputy editor

A new study has found that Brits find it trickier to have sensitive conversations at work than they do in their personal lives, with asking for a pay rise harder than dumping a partner.

If you’re that way inclined, a relationship can be ended with a text message. 

That particular tactic was demonstrated recently, as news that a young British holidaymaker was binned by his girlfriend in a series of messages went viral. 

The reason?

He got the name of rapper Skepta tattooed near his nether regions.

However, when it comes to the workplace, it’s a bit more challenging to drop your boss a casual message to say you’d like more cash. As such, a study from the Chartered Management Institute has found that personal issues are easier to deal with than ones of a corporate nature.

Indeed, a third of Brits said they found it difficult to talk about wages, followed by 31 per cent and 30 per cent that said discussing a colleague’s behaviour and performance feedback was awkward.

Of course, if business leaders really want to help with issues, it’s been found that sex can increase earning opportunities and romance can ignite productivity.

Alternatively, the TALK guide can help solve how to address serious matters:

T – Think about framing how you think about the conversation differently. Don’t label it as ‘difficult’. It may be about a tricky subject, but, by suggesting solutions or alternatives you can focus on constructive outcomes
A – Always use clear, simple and neutral language. Refer to specific examples and facts
L – Listen to what the other person is saying and hear their point of view. Show you care about how they see things
K – Keep the focus on the issue, not the person

In comparison to workplace woes, just 19 per cent of respondents found discussing something personal like sex a tricky situation and, at 17 per cent, even fewer are phased by breaking up a relationship.

Unfortunately, problems in the workplace arise all too often as 51 per cent said a difficult conversation crops up at least once a month or more, according to the research.

Despite this, the CMI claims that too many employees and managers have strategies to deal with the stress. This results in 56 per cent of people taking things personally, 41 per cent straying from facts because of their emotions and 40 per cent freezing up.

Read more surreal business:

“Our survey findings reveal that difficult conversations are really taking their toll on workers. When it comes to our home life we often rely on friends and family to support us with tricky discussions,” said Petra Wilton, director of strategy and external affairs at CMI.

“At work, with no advice or training, it can feel like tiptoeing through a minefield. It’s no wonder 61 per cent of people told us they would like to learn how to manage workplace conversations with more confidence.”

At 57 per cent, more than half of respondents said they would do almost anything to skip difficult conversations at work, and 52 per cent said they put up with problems rather than confronting them. The main reasons behind this are fear of not stating the issue clearly and getting upset.

Wilton, added: “It’s scandalous that so many people would rather be miserable at work than face a difficult conversation. This reluctance to talk things through not only has a negative impact on individuals, but can quickly affect wider team morale.”

Image: Shutterstock