Back in September of 2001, authors Joseph Grenny, Al Switzler, and Ron McMillan released their book, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High. Not in a million years would they have predicted what would happen about the same time as their book launched. Perhaps it was Devine providence or just luck, but the book has become a cornerstone for difficult conversations. Before, during, and since 9/11 the tough conversations have affected us all, but Crucial Conversation gave us some tools.
It has been some time since I read the book myself, but what I took to heart was how our human behavior/temperaments and EQ (emotional intelligence) impact our ability to handle conflict. In summary, the book states “Crucial conversations are discussions between two or more people when 1) Opinions vary 2) Stakes are high 3) Emotions run strong. It concludes that our choices are to A) Avoid them B) Face them and handle them poorly or C) Face them and handle them well. My hope is that no matter where we are on the experience spectrum that we desire to face tough situations and handle them to the best of our ability.
This is where our knowledge and understanding of our own wiring, values, and EQ can assist us. By knowing your own triggers and possible pitfalls, you can take a step back to avoid a massive melt down when emotions are running high. When we seek to understand someone else, we immediately shift from continued conflict to resolution by effectively speaking in a manner that works for them. We, in essence, build a bridge instead of blowing it up!
During crucial conversations, we are often at our worst, under pressure, stumped and tend to act in self-defeating ways. I call it the “ugly head” phenomenon, which is a strength pushed to an extreme, ultimately becoming a weakness. But when we take the time to understand other’s motivation and stress reactions, we can adapt how we approach, speak, and respond. We take the power back instead of giving it away to our emotions.
Conflicts and crucial conversations come in all shapes and sizes. It could be ending a relationship or having a disagreement with a co-worker. You may need to ask a roommate to move out or are dealing with a custody battle with your ex. Whatever the case, the best of us develop skills for dealing with these difficult conversations safely and effectively.
The good news is that DISC, motivators, and EQ tools are available to us all! By improving how we handle these crucial conversations, we can improve our relationships, revitalize our community, and enhance personal health by reducing our stress. DISC assessments and coaching can help us determine what word choices, tone, and pace would be received better as we are phrasing our solutions. Values and motivators insights remind us what to emphasize in our solutions.
Remember, emotions don’t just happen. Others can’t make you mad—you make you mad. Once we feel emotions, we can either act on them or be acted BY them. EQ assessments give us a very real picture of where we need to improve and grow. Most battles are over just 5 to 10 percent, and we need to focus on the larger percentage…the common ground. Build on what you can agree upon and add to it rather than correcting the slim margin.
Life will always have stress and disagreements, but we can choose to handle them with dignity, respect, honor, and high-emotional intelligence. If you haven’t evaluated your temperament, motivators, or emotional intelligence in a while, I can run a complete report with comprehensive insights that will guide you to the best version of yourself! Contact me today!