I would like to share some lessons from my prior week of which several of my clients experienced a very similar challenge. I would also wager a bet that many of you have also experienced this challenge. Whether it be an employee, a customer, a competitor or just another person. Somewhere along the line, we’ve all had a conversation that didn’t necessarily go as planned and it took us a little bit off our A-Game.
Each one of my clients experienced this particular challenge. One of which was with a team member, another with a competitor and a third with a customer. All asked me to advise them of how they should handle this current conversation in addition to any other similar future experience of this sort.
The advice, I shared with them is the same advice I will share with you today. Be calm, be clear, be firm and most importantly, be consistent. When we enter into a conversation with someone that we don’t necessarily agree with, that conversation can easily escalate. Sometimes we can unintentionally bring the wrong energy to a conversation. If a conversation is escalating, where the other participants’ tonality is getting louder, higher, faster and you were to match that intensity. What’s going to happen? You both will ratchet up the conversation to where eventually you’re both trying to prove your point to where no one is actually listening of which at that point nobody wins.
So again, when this situation is to happen, just remember to be calm, clear, firm and consistent. What happens, in this case, is when the conversation begins to ratchet up on the other side, and you continue to hold your stance of calmness. Sooner or later the other side will begin to ratchet down their intensity and engage in a normal two-sided conversation.
Let us share some key points or lessons that we can practice to stay calm. First is we can start our day by practicing a little meditation. This is where you can get centered on what kind of day you’re going to have, essentially how you are going to show up. You can get centered around a particular conversation that you’re going to have with an employee. You can concentrate on how calm you’ll be in that conversation, you can experience in advance of how you will praise that team member for what they’ve done well and then coach them up to tighten other areas of their process to grow.
Number 2, be clear on your articulation of the conversation. Don’t just react, slow down and ask questions, by asking questions the other side will have to use their brain to think of their response which will automatically slow down the pace of the conversation. This process will also buy you the time to adjust to their comments and responses in a positive moving forward manor.
Number 3, be firm in your approach, if you are a leader or owner of an organization or business. You write the rules of engagement. Be very firm in your articulation of how your processes work, how they will be executed, what’s expected of your team members. It’s you that runs the show. As you’re firm and everyone fully understands how the game is going to be played, they will follow your lead. In addition, and most importantly in these conversations, focus 80% of the time on the solution and only 20% on the challenge. Never the other way around as that serves absolutely no one but the person that just wants to vent.
Last and most importantly you must be consistent in how you show up in all these conversations. I have found from my experience when a conversation begins to escalate from the other side. That when you bring your calmness, clarity, and firmness to the conversation. When you begin to ask the proper questions in a calm serving manor. When you address the challenge that they are facing and focusing them on the solution. All, while being firm with your authority with authenticity. You will see how controllable these situations really are.
And most importantly as you are consistent in this process, you will begin to witness what type of impact it has on you and everyone around you. As you master this approach, you will now fully understand why this is an important key trait of the leadership of which everyone has naturally been expecting of you anyways.
In conclusion, be calm, be clear, be firm, be consistent, be an effective leader, and be well!
Congratulations on your future leadership endeavors.