I am no saint. I tend to have a bite when I bark back. I’d like to think most of the time I listen, really listen, to the other side. Nod my head appropriately, ask questions, consider the other sides position and not try to cram my own agenda down their throat. Not cut them off before they’ve finished their point because I already know what they’re going to say. That really bothers people. It really bothers me.
So when my mom left a recent Tribune article on our island (typical Friday morning fashion when she watches the kids), entitled “Recognizing – and appreciating – when a co-worker fights fair” I was intrigued. Could I learn to fight fair(er)? Could I learn to practice the art of active listening? Could this apply at home? Here’s the gist:
1) Tell You directly – or give feedback directly, don’t talk shit about your co-worker behind their back. Plain and simple. Be respectful. Bring it back to the basics of living your life with integrity.
What happens when you’re the one getting shit-talked? So I don’t shy from confrontation, but I do feel a pit in my stomach when I hear someone has been talking negatively about me (I want everyone to like me because I’m so fun!). This type of confrontation I’m not really good at facing head on. When I do though, I tend to be a little sheepish, which usually signals to the other side I’m weak. Which I’m not, I’m just insecure sometimes. Try this: “hey, I wanted to talk to you about something that’s been bugging me, I’m not upset, I’d just like to further understand your position/POV. [explain what you heard]. I really appreciate your honesty.”
2) Use a respectful tone – in other words, don’t be a total asshole and start screaming or using accusatory tones/words; “you” statements never go over well and automatically put people on the defense.
3) Be curious – ask questions. Clarifying questions, questions that lets the other side feel you are listening.
And take deep breaths - if you feel yourself getting flooded and defensive, take a deep breath, excuse yourself to get a glass of water. Take a freaking time out before you say something you’ll regret.
Try taking this approach the next time some conflict comes up at work. Curious what outcome might happen.