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How Can I Better Manage Difficult Conversations with Faculty?


Is there a conversation you should have with a faculty member that you’re putting off because you’re afraid of how she or he will react? A technique called motivational interviewing is the key and you’ll learn how it could help you do a better job of navigating the rough spots of academic life in this program.


How Can I Better Manage Difficult Conversations with Faculty?

They are the kinds of conversations no one enjoys, but when you’re an academic leader, they’re part of your job.

You know how challenging these encounters can be if you’ve ever had to:

  • Give a faculty member a critical performance review
  • Identify problematic behavior in a faculty member
  • Remind faculty members to engage in more service activities
  • Give a negative response to a proposed project or funding request

But there is a better way. In How Can I Better Manage Difficult Conversations with Faculty?, a Magna 20-Minute Mentor, you’ll learn an approach to help you take the sting out of potentially problematic faculty interactions.


Although it’s often challenging to stay focused during difficult conversations, motivational interviewing can give you the framework you need to stay on track.

This technique called motivational interviewing is the key, and in less time than you might spend talking down a frustrated colleague, you’ll learn how it could help you do a better job of navigating the rough spots of academic life.

This presentation will show you how your own behavior can make difficult conversations easier or even more difficult. You’ll come away equipped with a host of techniques you can use to manage resistance and negative interactions, and set you on the path toward improving faculty motivation and faculty engagement.

Learning Goals

The program presenter will provide a brief overview of motivational interviewing and then demonstrate these techniques in action. You’ll learn:

  • Three key concepts for dealing with difficult conversations
  • Three key characteristics of a collaborative approach to facilitating change
  • Four tools to help you structure difficult conversations

After participating in this Magna 20-Minute Mentor, you will be able to:

  • Apply the principle of motivational interviewing during difficult conversations
  • Employ open questions, reflections, and summaries to explore an individuals understanding of a problem
  • Use five specific tools to avoid confronting resistance directly

Construct an information strategy (elicit-provide-elicit) that limits resistance

Topics Covered

Conflicts with faculty usually involve some aspect of facilitating change.

This Magna 20 Minute Mentor will help you make sure that change is a positive one. How Can I Better Manage Difficult Conversations with Faculty? will showcase several practices proven to be effective in managing difficult conversations.

You’ll learn:

  • How motivational interviewing helps you focus during difficult conversations
  • Why open questions are important when managing sensitive issues
  • What to focus on instead of the initial problem during difficult conversations
  • How to practice reflective listening in tense situations
  • What personal values have to do with managing challenging situations
  • How to use a summary strategically
  • How to structure feedback effectively
  • What to avoid when bringing conversations to a conclusion


To help you implement your new knowledge, you’ll also receive:

  • Rubrics
  • A list of dos and don’ts
  • Recommended resources


Many academic leaders have a great deal of expertise in their fields but less experience with administrative and management issues. This presentation will be particularly helpful for those who are new to the world of academic leadership and serve in these positions:

  • Deans
  • Associate deans
  • Provosts
  • Associate provosts
  • Faculty senate chairs
  • Department chairs
  • Directors of research centers
  • Vice presidents
  • Presidents


Difficult conversations can come up in any work environment, and colleges and universities are no exception. As an academic leader, you owe it to yourself and your colleagues to learn how to manage challenging situations. Purchase this Magna 20 Minute Mentor now.

Product Code:OM14AA

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