“If you think that’s bad…” or “That’s nothing, what I had to do was…”
11. Dismissing your part in the problem/solution
“You are smart—you will figure this out,” or “Your job is to have this figured out.”
Reframe to a more open style.
Practising appropriate language in less stressful times will help develop the habit. Instead of using the conversation killers listed above, try these approaches instead:
1. Discuss your contributions to the issue
“I recognize that I didn’t ask you earlier how things were coming along.”
2. Clarify what result/goal you were expecting
“I was expecting this to have been completed yesterday.”
3. Express the consequences to the team or the level of urgency to justify any non-negotiables
“If this is delayed, we will miss our launch date.”
4. Recognize that your perspective is subjective and ask them to discuss their experience
“From my perspective, the message didn’t seem to land. What was your take?”
5. Ask for their process/story
“Can you outline the steps you took?”
6. Apologize or recognize out loud when you sidetrack or get emotional.
This helps demonstrate vulnerability and commitment to remain open
“I’m sorry, I was frustrated and brought up old issues that don’t matter to this project, please continue.”
7. Don’t soften the blow with disingenuous compliments.
If there are genuine positives, discuss those and talk about how those can be leveraged to overcome gaps
“Although the project was late, the final version was impeccable. Let’s make it a template so we can accelerate the process next time.”
8. Move from victim language to owner language
Instead of “You made me pissed off,” say “I felt frustrated when…”
9. Ask more questions and then test assumptions
“So, what I am hearing is that…”
Remember that any discussion should be given ample time; allotting too much time is better than trying to rush to resolution. It also helps prevent “emotional dumping” where you try to get everything you experienced out quickly without allowing time for each other to explore or react.
Finally, it’s important to remember that we tend to know and judge ourselves by our intentions, but we assume and judge others by their impact (our interpretation of their actions).
Thus, we need to remember that even when we have good intentions, we can have a negative impact—and just because you were negatively impacted, doesn’t mean the person had negative intentions. Be kind, give people the benefit of the doubt, and find solutions together.
Written by: Lauren Florko, Ph.D For more information contact Lauren Florko at http://www.triplethreatconsulting.ca/ Originally appeared on Psychology Today Republished with permission.