One tech professional told me once in a fit of frustration, “Elisa, the biggest communication problem this organisation has is that people simply don’t read.” But if we know for a fact that people don’t read, is that then a problem – or a fact of life that we need to adjust to?
Within every conflict there’s a possibility for growth
It’s easy to be a good team player on days when everybody is happy. It takes a whole lotta more talent to be a good team player on other days, when opinions, goals and personalities clash. However, each argument, conflict and difficult situation contains a possibility to develop as a human being.
These situations feel uneasy at first. We have a tendency to avoid discomfort, fear and rejection. In addition to that, most of us have been brought up to believe one should not argue. No wonder we would like to circle around difficult topics and put out any potential conflict as fast as possible. But that is not a sustainable way of dealing with things.
Not all arguments are necessary. I want to help you to recognize the ones that are. I want to provide you with tools to withstand and endure difficult situations and deal with challenging people. What is good argument like? How can you disagree in a constructive manner? How to find the growth within the conflict?
Start with these
People have a tendency to assume that anything unpleasant was done with malicious intent. However, Hanlon’s razor tells us, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by neglect.”
Naming can be used to check even big assumptions because naming doesn’t claim that anything is true. “Sounds like” doesn’t argue that something is true, just that it seemed like that to the listener.
Are you one of those people, for whom NO comes naturally and is more or less your default reaction? Take a step to the next level and learn to say no without saying no.
“Don’t ask or give advice” is of course in itself an advice. Don’t believe it. Instead read the whole article of why making space for the other to come up with a solutions is better than giving advice.
When our hero climbs one more step forward, s/he takes a few deep breaths and asks quietly: What do I want regarding this problem right now?
On the corridors of many workplaces wander alienated, discouraged and mentally quit employee zombies. Giving up is our mental getaway, when the pressure of shame and obligation becomes too much to bear.
“I just have to take care of these, do this and execute that. It is my responsibility.” This is normally considered as responsiblity but, confusingly, it is still one step away from actually taking responsibility.
How can I be this bad and useless? I will admit being at fault, dwell in shame and beat myself up for making a mistake. It’s such a shame that this won’t actually solve the problem, though.
This is what it is around here. This is simply how the projects go and clients act. And there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. Or is there?
These too are worth your while
We want to keep our worldview. If we’re presented with facts that argue against our core beliefs, instead of changing our core beliefs we become angry, defensive or even aggressive. This batshit-f*cking-bonkers behaviour* has a scientific name called the backfire effect. Read all about it from this brilliant comic.
* The Oatmeal’s terminology, not mine.
The Arbinger Institute, 2009
I’m right and others are mostly wrong. I’m hard-working and do things right, others are lazy and do a poor job. I cannot trust anything to others, I’ll do it better myself anyway. People simply don’t appreciate enough what I do for them. If any of these sentences is a recurrent thought in your head, read this book. Preferably right now and repeat every second year or so.