The capability to deal with moments of conflict has a huge impact on people’s success. The way you manage conflict defines the amount of trust, respect and connection you share with your colleagues. Conflicts can culminate in critical conversations, at moments when emotions are strong and opinions are significantly different. Moreover, one cannot control these crucial conversations without having a high degree of emotional intelligence (EQ). According to TalenSmart, among the million-plus people tested, more than 90% of top performers have high EQs. In what ways can you thus use emotional intelligence to gain control of crucial conversations?
Here are some common mistakes you must avoid, and some alternative strategies you can pursue to take you down the right path.
Mistake #1: Being harshly honest
Your colleague is bothering you a lot and you have been suffering in silence long enough. Then one time you get right in his face and tell him how terrible he is.
How to overcome this attitude? With emotional intelligence…
With emotional intelligence, even the most critical conversations can go very well. It creates safety. People do not get defensive because of the content of the conversation but because of the intent they perceive behind it. The truth does not hurt but the malice used to deliver the truth is what causes damages.
Mistake #2: Instinctively Sharing Your Feelings
According to some communication professionals, the most diplomatic way to have your say is to start by communicating your feelings. In theory, it is supposed to help but practically it does not because people do not work like that. If you automatically share your feeling, you will be feeling alienated, annoyed and confused.
To overcome this, start with the facts. Our brains often do not help us well during critical conversations. So to make the most out of cognitive efficiency, our minds accumulate feelings and conclusions, but not the facts that were behind them. In situations when you give your colleague negative feedback and he asks for an example, you often hesitate and you truly cannot recall anything. Therefore, you find yourself repeating your feelings or conclusions, but give few useful facts. Thus, in order to master very important conversations, gather the facts earlier.
Mistake #3: Defending Your Position
People usually adopt the defensive attitude when someone takes an opposing view on a subject they care about. Our brains are programmed to consider threats. But when we feel our behavior is threatened, things never end well.
You can overcome this by getting curious and developing a healthy doubt about your own certainty. Then, go on with the conversation by showing curiosity about the other person’s world. According to former Secretary of State Dean Rusk, “The best way to persuade others is with your ears, by listening.” When others feel well understood, they become very open to hearing you.
Mistake #4: Blaming Others for Your Situation
At work, you may feel betrayed by your superior. For instance, your boss tells you she will speak up for you to get a promotion. Later on, you discover that in the HR review, this was not the case: she advocated for someone else instead. You think that your boss is the only one responsible for this. However, in reality it is not 100%.
To overcome this, challenge your perspective. When people feel threatened, they magnify their negative emotions by putting the blame on other people for their problems. One cannot have control of any conflict until he recognizes the role he played in creating these circumstances.
When you face a challenging situation in the future, try to apply the above strategies: You will be amazed by the results…