Preparing for difficult conversations at work

Do you rush into difficult conversations and then wish you’d thought it through a little more first ?  Do you find that your own emotional fallout gets in the way of having a positive interaction with a colleague, and ends up making things worse?  It often pays to take an extra few minutes to do self-empathy first, to better understand where you are coming from, before connecting with another.  This is another in Ike Lasater’s ‘Workplace Tips’ series to help you make the most of your work day.

Once you’ve read through this one, sign up for the weekly emails, and/or forward the link onto someone you think might benefit from this.   Alternatively, click on the ‘Like’ button on my blog or Facebook page (on the topic you are interested in), then you will enable all your friends to find out about these useful tips in one click.

“When we’re in pain and our thoughts are awhirl, we’re not able to empathize with others until our need for empathy has been sufficiently met.”
– Ike Lasater, Words That Work In Business

Workplace Communication Tip — Week 5

We Need to Talk About it NOW!

In the interest of efficiency, productivity and teamwork, do you ever force yourself to talk through a conflict or encounter with a colleague before you’re ready? You might think talking it through is the best way to defuse your anger or frustration and ultimately get back to work.

Unfortunately, taking this route may only lead to further disconnection and frustration – for both of you.

“When we’re in pain and our thoughts are awhirl, we’re not able to empathize with others until our need for empathy has been sufficiently met,” says Ike Lasater.

Before you dive in to “talk it out” with your coworker or boss, take a few minutes to give yourself empathy and connect to your feelings and needs.

If you are anticipating a difficult conversation with someone, a difficult meeting, or a challenging interaction, practice self-empathy beforehand with these steps:

(1) Observation — Identify what was actually said or done without judgment
(2) Identify how you feel about it, without evaluation
(3) Identify what need was met or not met by the words or actions, without blame

As you “prepare for this interaction” with self-empathy, notice any changes in your thought process and in how you feel. How has this process shifted your intention as you go into the conversation?


Mindful Practice for the Week

This week, give yourself permission to pause – employing the steps of self-empathy — before entering a difficult conversation, meeting, or encounter with a colleague or customer. Continue the practice until you recognize a shift in your intention away from judgment, blame, or “being right.”

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From The Conflict Tool Box, published by Mediation Matters

This entry was posted in Conflict Resolution News, Handy Hints, Workplace conflict and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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