When you’re tempted to dismiss someone’s concerns as trivial, or roll your eyes at the things people find to fight over, it’s time to sit up straight and pay attention. Because you’re missing something…and it’s worth your while to figure out what.
When we feel overwhelmed by a difficult conversation, we can get emotionally swamped and lose access to our good conflict resolution, communication, and problem-solving skills. Here are four quick techniques you can use when conflict muddles your thinking and you want your good skills back.
Some debates, arguments, and bickering go on and on, without leading anywhere (except to more frustration). If you find yourself in this kind of debate, or are trying to stop others caught in one, here’s a single question that’s almost magical in its power to help.
When we’ve put in effort to solve a problem, we want our solution, decision, or agreement to have every chance at long-run success. Here’s a powerful way to improve our plan’s ability to stand the test of time: Go back to the future and test it with a premortem.
Pressure-filled situations like difficult conversations tax our working memory. That’s bad news, since working memory is crucial for reasoning, concentration, and understanding. But here’s the good news: There’s a specific type of brief writing activity that can both reduce anxiety about and boost performance under pressure.
There’s a space that changes form and scale as we navigate our personal and business relationships. It’s the space between us, narrowing and softening when things are going well, widening and hardening in times of tension. The quality of our relationships, the degree of our happiness, and the success of our solutions are all influenced by The Space Between.
Our solutions are only as good as our understanding of the problem. There’s a good question we can use to help discover a problem’s roots. And we can turn it into an even better question by employing it liberally — more liberally than most of us naturally do.
When we notice resistance, a typical response is to try persuading them out of their resistance. But that approach often causes more resistance, as they defend against our pushing. When we want to overcome resistance, there’s a better way.
One reason apologies feel hard to offer is that they’re colored by fear — fear of feeling shame, fear of feeling judged, fear of offering an olive branch that is not returned. To apologize, we must find ways to anticipate not only what will go wrong, but what also what could go right.
Sometimes the best fix for behavior problems isn’t to address the behavior itself. Sometimes the most effective solution is to change the situation. Situation problems can cause behavior problems, and unless you know how to tell the difference, you can waste a whole lot of energy trying to get someone to change.