Not only managers are often measured by whether they are able to keep a cool head even in difficult situations. But what if this gets out of hand in the heat of everyday business life?
With these 3 steps you will regain the necessary competence.
In conflict situations we should deal these conflicts with confidence sovereignty in conflict situations; who wouldn’t want it? But isn’t that just a naive wish and in reality a contradiction in terms? Conflict situations are so difficult to handle precisely because they catch us on the wrong foot. It is the “O-my-gosh-moment” that pulls away the carpet under our feet andcatapult us within a blink of an eye into the vacuum of communicative helplessness. That’s why we lack it: sovereignty. We are entangled, helpless, struck, angry, disappointed, ambivalent, insecure and at the same time under pressure to react as sovereignly as possible now. With a little time for reflection we would often be able to help (“Give me half an hour and I’ll give you a quick answer”). But for the current situation it doesn’t help much if we can’t come up with all the brilliant answers that we would have imagined later.
Keep cool and manage the conflict
The role of a sovereign person is always associated with the expectation to keep a cool head and to look for a constructive solution in critical situations. Nevertheless, we are no machines that can always act according to a purposeful “if-then” pattern. However, this does not change the psychological expectations and the disadvantages that you may suffer as a result of “failure”. You should remain the captain of your ship and often it is expected of you that you do not panic in the event of a crisis, but take the right measures. After all, this is your job and the litmus test of your social skills. How do you want to be a leader to other people if you cannot lead yourself? If you only manage to keep your ship on course in good weather and calm seas, your authority as a leader will suffer.
You therefore need the right toolbox in the event of conflict so that you can react confidently even in unforeseen moments.
When the “personal channel” interfers
In my German book “Führen ohne Psychotricks” (“Leadership without Mind Games”) there is a whole chapter for concrete use in everyday business. From this ‘Manager Toolbox’ I would like to present a tool for such conflict situations to you today.
If you succeed in separating the factual level and the personal level from each other, in many situations this will first of all put you back on the ground. Often we receive messages from others that make us feel out of step because we do not agree with the tone or the way the message is formulated. This makes it difficult to deal with the content of the message or to respond appropriately. While we are still sorting the facts on the factual side, the “personal channel” keeps coming back with short, disturbing interjections (“How does he talk to me?”; “Was that an attack that was meant for me?”; “What is he doing to me?”; “What is that inappropriate tone!”)
You should proceed in 3 steps:
1. Perceive and assign the attack:
What do I perceive?
What emotions does the message trigger?
What is hitting me right now, and why?
What am I angry about?
Could and should I simply ignore the attack?
2. Reject on the personal level
Try to istance yourself and show a clear edge:
“I am not sure whether you actually meant it as disrespectfully (offensively, impudently) as it has just arrived with me. Could you please say again what you are talking about?”
“What makes you think you can talk to me like that?”
3. Show openness and willingness to negotiate on the factual level:
“You are welcome to talk about the content – but not in this tone (in this way).”
“I can agree with you on the content. However I find your manners inappropriate and offensive”.
Take it to the next level
It is important that you make every effort to take the third step so that communication does not get stuck on the personal level. Otherwise you run the risk of losing contact with your counterpart and hardening your fronts. The art of conflict resolution is to perceive you own emotions, because they can be an important yardstick and signpost for your decisions and reactions. This will also save you some time to look for an appropriate reaction. If you should be in a really difficult situation, you can also refer to another tool, I call ‘The Ethics Compass’, to make the right decision.
Remember: Frist you have to be able to lead and control yourself, before you can be a sovereign support to others.