There is a game I love playing with my family. It’s called “5 second rule” You get given a question like “Name 3 countries starting with A” or “name 5 ingredients you need to make a cake” and you only have 5 seconds to respond. I’m always amazed at how under pressure, even when you know you know the answer, you can get stumped. My kids were in hysterics recently when I missed answering “name 4 colours in the rainbow” before the buzzer sounded. Bzzzzzzzzzzzz!!! My son then prepared a little list for me so next time I would have a cheat sheet handy!
In challenging conversations we are under pressure and can sometimes “get stumped” as our brains just don’t access the skill or answer we are searching for at that precise moment. Sometimes it would be great if someone could just hand you a premade list so you could draw on those strategies when under pressure. I recently conversation coached a client in preparation for a discussion with one of his senior managers. He shared he often struggles to access the right strategy when things get a little tense during these conversations.
This was my “5-second rule” answer to him. It’s a cheat sheet of things that work. You will notice all of these are things HE could do. That is, they are things within his control. It is so much easier to find ways we can change the dynamic rather than rely on the other person (even if we think they should because they are more at fault!). They are also things he COULD do. That is, he does not need to do them all, but being aware of the options prior, takes the pressure off and gives you more chance of beating the buzzer.
How are you behaving right now? If I was a fly on the wall, what feedback would I give you about your communication impact? Check whether you are holding any negative assumptions. Well are you? If so, work on those assumptions.
7. Acknowledge and share that you both have the responsibility to have a difficult conversation. What are you doing about your responsibility?
Can you jointly discuss how best to have the conversation constructively separately to the content of the conversation.
Alright, I think I made it before the buzzer sounded! Well done team. Move forward 5 spaces!! Notice how these are all things YOU can do. These are the things you control or manage. So you have choice in how you do them or if you do them at all. I challenge you to focus on 2-3 of them in your next important conversation and I guarantee you will get a better outcome.
I’d love to welcome in the new year with a conversation to help you work through a difficult conversation to get 2019 off on the right foot. Be in touch.
Workplace Investigations, 20 March - Melbourne CBD
This training will give HR professionals the skills to develop and implement effective plans for conducting a compliant workplace investigation, the strategies to overcome difficulties along the way and the expertise to make findings of fact and subsequent recommendations.
Better Conflict, 3&4 April - Melbourne CBD
Facilitate difficult conversations in the workplace! Learn the strategies and practical methods to approach, lead and coach conflict resolution in your workplace. Essential skill-building workshop over 2 days that will refine and increase your skills and mindset.
"I developed better knowledge, skills & judgment as a workplace investigator"
"Shifted my thinking"
Zandy Fell is a Director of The Zalt Group works with individuals & organisations who want to restore and strengthen workplace relationships. The Zalt Group are determined to increase the credibility, capability and confidence of practitioners. If you want to discuss your conflict capability, please get in touch - 0467 547 525.
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