My last blog “Difficult Conversations – 5 Tips” struck a chord, loud and clear; many of you asked for more guidance. It seems that we all struggle when we’re in the eye of the storm, and most of us aren’t sure how to defuse challenging emotions during those tough moments.
This time, let’s look at the flip side and explore guaranteed ways to escalate conflicts and create even more angst for everyone involved.
7 Sure-Fire Ways to Escalate Emotions:
- Withdraw from the conversation. Maybe the conflict will resolve itself.
- Resort to email. Unless you use emoticons or upper case, it’s all neutral, right?
- Don’t listen. Interrupt and at all costs, avoid eye contact.
- Disrespect their position. Be sure to use the old standby: “I’m sorry that you feel this way, but….”
- Patronize: “Calm down.” “Take a deep breath.”
- Try a direct attack: “You’re always defensive.” “You need to be a team player.”
- Drag in other issues or people. “No one else other than you seems to be upset about this issue.”
Emotions – especially frustration, negativity and anger – are contagious. Your efforts to stay grounded and objective will help everyone stay calm. Above all, listen, listen, listen!