Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue Posts

I’m Sick and Tired of Making Decisions for My Senior Colleague

I work with a senior colleague who almost always seeks my approval on decisions that are his responsibility. I have advised and supported him a few times in the past, but now he seems to have become dependent on me to confirm or validate his actions. I get the sense that he doubts himself, worries that something might go wrong, and would like to direct the blame to me in case it did. I have my responsibilities, so I get annoyed that he depends on me to make his decisions for him. I’m also afraid that if I don’t respond to his requests, he’ll let his projects stagnate and then blame their failure on me. I feel he does not want to take ownership for his responsibilities, and it’s a nuisance. What can I do?

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When Someone Thinks They’re Good at Talking but They’re Not

My supervisor says that she uses the skills taught in Crucial Conversations. However, she always starts a “Crucial Conversation” by being abrasive and making false accusations. She will say she is seeking the truth through dialogue, but then she sticks to her false accusations and disregards attempts to shed light on the matter. I now have a horrible impression of Crucial Conversations, but something tells me she must not be using the process correctly. What am I missing?

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What to Do When You and Your Employee Disagree about Their Performance

A member of the team I lead is convinced he’s an excellent worker, top performer, and unfairly overlooked for a promotion. The problem is none of that is true, but he refuses to accept this. He sometimes does great work but is inconsistent. He’s also often nowhere to be found, for hours at a time. How do I hold him accountable when his self-perception is so wildly different from reality? I ask all the right questions, but we still go in circles when we talk with me pointing out weaknesses and him claiming perfection.

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How Can I Get My Boss to Respect My Boundaries?

I have been a legal secretary to a lawyer for more than 18 months. She used to stay on top of things, but recently she has become unmotivated and unresponsive. For example, I prepare letters for her review and deliver them early in the morning, but she doesn’t review them until 30 minutes before I’m due to leave the office, and then she wants me to get the letters sent out. I work full-time and have four children, and I have told her on several occasions that I cannot get letters finished that late in the day as I need to leave. I’ve tried letting her know early in the day what time I will be leaving and the deadline for getting letters to me, yet she continues to send requests at the last minute and then becomes snippy when I tell her I won’t get them done until the next day. I don’t know how to deal with her lack of motivation. What can I do?

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Dealing with a Narcissist in the Family

Do you have any advice for dealing with a narcissist?

My twenty-four-year-old daughter has a new boyfriend who is a narcissist and she is showing signs of being emotionally abused. He is slowly isolating her—from friends, colleagues, family members. How can I use your skills to show him respect even though he is crushing my daughter? I want to ensure he doesn’t exclude me from her life for when she does need me.

Or can you suggest how I might talk to my daughter so she can see the light? When I tell her I am concerned about her situation, she gets defensive and lies to me, so she’s obviously not feeling safe around me. I have very strong feelings about the situation, so it is crucial I handle this well—I don’t want to lose my daughter. I want to build a better relationship with her and let her know we will always love her and be there for her when she needs us.

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How Can I Get My Husband to Treat Me as Well as I Treat Him?

Whenever my husband tells me things he doesn’t like that I do, I own it, say I’m sorry, and tell him I am determined to change it. If even ten minutes later I tell him I don’t like something he does, he’ll reply, “We really need to stop criticizing each other!”

I would appreciate it if he would own his behavior and validate my perspective, like I did for him. I feel like I’m trying to do what’s required to have a good relationship, but he doesn’t. What can I do?

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Why People Get Defensive and What You Can Do about It

Each month we receive dozens of questions from readers earnestly seeking advice on how to handle some of the toughest problems in their lives. Last week I was reading over the questions and noticed that many shared a theme: defensiveness. Almost everyone was dealing with someone who, in their eyes, was VERY defensive, and they didn’t know how to talk to them, influence them, or help them. So I’d like to share what we know about defensive behavior and how you can respond to it.

My Adult Daughter is Severely Overweight. What Can I Do?

I have a 38-year-old daughter who is severely overweight and doesn’t want to hear anything about the issue. She shops doctors and has subscribed to the “anti-diet” philosophy, which I can see some value in. However, she has taken this philosophy into the realm of cultism. I do not know what to do. It is ruining her life. Please help me. Typical psychology experts have been no help to this point.

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