Mayo Positive Conflict & Courageous CommunicationPresentation Transcript
Challenging Conversations How to handle difficult, emotional, stressful, angry and confrontational conversations The first 8 slides are not in the book
Class is based on…
Conflict Management Program
Advanced Communications Program
Resolving Conflict at Work
Difficult Conversations ***
5,000 pages of research and studies
100 + companies in the last 11 years
Each of us experiences innumerable miscommunications and conflicts in the course of our lives that affect us deeply and daily. It is impossible to grow up in a family, live in a neighborhood, attend school, work at a job, have an intimate relationship, raise children, or actively participate in the world around you --- without experiencing frequent conflicts of some sort. Yet many of these conflicts are either avoidable or completely unnecessary. Most arise from simple miscommunication, misunderstanding, seemingly irrelevant differences, unclear roles and responsibilities and false expectations.
Many people fear conflict because:
A confrontation could escalate the problem rather than solve it.
I could be rejected, laughed at, yelled at, made fun of…
I could lose the relationship.
I do not have time to make sure everyone is happy.
Confronting the negative behavior could cause an outcome for which I am not prepared.
I could incur retaliation.
The cure could be worse than the disease.
I could be met with irrationality or emotional outbursts.
I might hurt their feelings.
I could discover that I am part of the problem.
The results of NOT confronting a problem include:
The problem could escalate on its own rather than work itself out.
You could be rejected.
You could lose the relationship.
It could get much worse and start to involve more people.
Emotions could escalate until someone blows up.
Some Ground Rules
The EVIL people
States vs. Traits
What outcome do you really want?
How important is this to you?
There is an enormous difference between communicating superficially to settle conflicts, and communicating deeply to truly resolve them.
You can only fix you
This takes practice and work
It is all just a story in your head…
It is of paramount importance to always remember…
The meaning of any message is determined solely by the receiver – not the deliverer of the communication.
You lose total control over message meaning once it has been delivered.
It is NOT the content of your message that matters, it is what the receiver THINKS you said that matters.
To assume that your words alone define your message is a dangerous assumption.
Attitude = Actions = Reactions
Blame someone else
Refuse to budge
Discover common interests
Focus on the problem
Invite to explore
Reframe the issue
Let is pass through
The Truth Assumptions
I am right
You are wrong
I know the facts
You are mistaken
You are confused
They are the problem! Rude Arrogant Manipulative Controlling Naïve Irrational
How do we fix the “truth” assumptions?
Admit you are not always right.
Realize they are not always the problem.
Check your information.
Examine your world.
Explore their world.
PAGE 4 * Remember: How important is this to you?
Reality is unforgivingly complex. Every conversation is wrapped up in multiple, competing realities existing simultaneously: This is true and this is true and this is true.
Difficult conversations are almost never about getting the “facts” right.
They are most usually about conflicting perceptions, interpretations, personalities and values.
Phrases for miscommunications
Ordering : You must, You have to, You will…
Threatening : If you don’t, You’d better, You’ll pay a big price…
Preaching : It is only right that you, You ought to, It is your duty to…
Interfering : What you should do is, Here is how it should go, It would be best if you…
Judging : You are argumentative (lazy, stupid, greedy), You’ll never change, Your not serious enough to…
Blaming : It’s all your fault, you are the problem here…
Accusing : You lied to me, You started this mess, You won’t listen, You did this on purpose…
Labeling : You’re being unrealistic ( emotional, angry, hysterical…), This is so typical of you…
Three Key Questions:
What really happened?
How did it really make me feel?
What do I “guess” they intended?
Go from accusing…to explaining “ I” - statements
“ Susan, you had better start making it to meetings on time or there is going to be a serious problem. I am sick and tired of you waltzing in here whenever you feel like it. You have a bad attitude and it is causing a lot of problems around here and you need to fix it – right now!
“ Susan, when you come in late to our team meetings, I feel frustrated because it has a serious impact on keeping the agenda on track. I feel like you don’t want to be in the meetings, and that confuses me because I know you are excited about the project. Could you help me understand what has been keeping you from making it on time?”
Five Levels of Confrontation Demand for Action Understanding PAGE 9
Relationship is top priority
Sincere effort to understand
“ I can see that you are upset and you feel like there is a lot of pressure on you. You mentioned that you are working on eight different projects, including the annual budget. That is very challenging. I can understand that you feel stressed.”
I - statements
Relationship is important
Build understanding by sharing
“ I feel uncomfortable when you throw files down on my desk and raise your voice…” Let’s look at a few examples of I-statements…
For my point of view it seems like…
When you ____ I feel like _____
I get the sense that you might…
In the past I have felt like…
From where I am sitting…
When I think about what happened I feel…
To me it seems like…
I know this is not what you meant, but I feel…
I might be wrong, but to me, I looks like…
I might be the only one who sees it this way, but to me…
Very assertive… yet totally non-aggressive
Reach understanding in a gentle way
Preserve relationship in conflict
“ I appreciate your position and realize you feel it will improve productivity. I believe we should wait until we get the new computers and make sure the software is compatible.”
Build relationship / change behavior
Validate / direct
Show concern and understanding
Combination of : - Reflection - Validation of worth / importance - “I”-statements - Tentative indication of consequences
“ I know you think the Tampa project is a waste of time. I understand your feelings and appreciate that it may not seem like a top priority to you. Tom, you are one of the key people on our team, however, I feel frustrated when you agree to deadlines on that project and then turn work in days late. I am trying to manage all of our projects well, and this situation is causing me a lot of stress and extra work. If you continue to delay the project, it may mean that we don’t meet our quarterly goals and we will all lose our chance for bonus.”
Focus on changing behavior
Maintain / preserve relationship
Desire a firm resolution
Clear consequences for noncompliance
* Same as Gentle Confrontation… plus: “ This cannot continue. In the future, I would appreciate it if you would please honor the deadlines you commit to. It is very important to all of us. If you cannot…”
I don’t feel like talking about my feelings…
Emotions ARE what make it challenging
Can’t hide your emotions
Emotions can hurt you
Our emotions can be constructive or destructive, pleasurable or painful, positive or negative. They can distort or clarify our communications, escalate or de-escalate our conflicts, encourage us to act collaboratively or prevent us from doing so.
Some common myths about Emotions
Emotions are irrational.
Emotions are negative.
Emotions can’t be controlled and will escalate if released.
Emotions are unnecessary.
Being emotional is a sign of weakness.
It is not proper / professional to show emotions at work.
Nice people do not feel negative emotions.
People will reject / laugh at me if I show my emotions.
Other people have no right to be emotional with me.
I am responsible for fixing other people’s negative emotions.
If people express anger toward me it must mean the don’t like, love, trust, respect… me.
All false! The key is to learn to negotiate with your emotions!
How do you learn to stop and negotiate with yourself in the middle of an angry episode? The GAP
You make yourself mad
You create your own anger and rage
You create your own frustration
No one else can make you lose your temper
No one else is responsible for your reactions.
No one else is responsible for your behavior
It is one thing to say that you understand this… It is a completely different thing to actually live this.
Summary of Key Points
Realize you are telling a story – it is not the truth
You create your own emotions – you make yourself mad
Identify and manage emotions – express them rationally
Use the Gap – act like the “Ideal You”
Use “I” statements – assertive not aggressive
Ask good questions – listen and summarize
What is your purpose?
What do I want to have happen?
What do I not want to have happen?
What do I want for the relationship with this person?