“Why did you not finish the paperwork?” Bill demanded.
“It was my intention…” Sarah began.
“You know how important timely documentation is, not only for the record, but the success of our team!”
“Yes, and if I may explain…” Bill walked out of Sarah’s office.
It begins when your expectation isn’t fulfilled. Frustration is natural and depending on a variety of circumstances easily slips into anger. Unmanaged anger promotes unproductive behavior unique to you.
The natural reaction:
Incident Happens >
Emotional Reaction >
Words Spoken >
Not Listening >
Fight or Flight Triggered
Another outcome is possible
There’s another path you can take as you practice mindfulness, have hope, and are compassionate; when you see the person, not just the “problem.”
The cultivated response:
Incident Happens >
Quick to listen, leading with your ears >
Slow to speak, leading with open-ended questions >
Slow to anger, as you challenge your assumptions >
Engage in productive dialog
To pull this off you must create space to think, first for yourself and then for others. Since its natural to react you need a ritual to slow things down, You must control the PACE to Create Space.
Pause and breath
Challenge your beliefs, assumptions, conclusions
Edit the story – it’s a grace orientation; extend the benefit of the doubt
Lead with your ears and listen. Slow down your speech, by asking open-ended questions guided by the desire to understand. Then, be responsible to control your emotions so that you can respond and engage, not react and attack.
There’s always more to the story
Sarah circled by Bill’s office later that afternoon, “Bill, I’d like to re-visit our conversation from this morning regarding the documentation.”
With a deep breath, she continued, “The documentation was delayed because of something Chet discovered this morning … a big deal. I was about to explain … when you cut me off.” Gaining confidence, she pressed on, “When something like this happens how would you like me to handle our conversation?”
Lead with your ears. Slow your speech. Control your emotions. Now, watch for the chance to practice this, will you be ready?
Here’s to engaging conversations and less conflict,
Image: Wally Gobetz via flickr