I found NewsU’s comparison of “Dealing with Difficult Conversations” with walking on a tightrope to be rather interesting. It made sense with the symbolic steps of prep, the step off, the balance bar, the safety net, finishing up and following up after your success.
I learned that it is very important to know and be aware of the extent of the emotions, weaknesses and strengths of the person with which you are conversing as well as yourself. It is important to understand how you project to people and how you are received by those around you. It is necessary that you don’t assume the motives of the opposite party that you are going to be conversing with. Negative and critical preconceived assumptions often can cause you to become angry, cloud your judgment, and affect your effectiveness by making your thoughts rigid.
It is essential to learn to expect and prepare for tears, anger, confusion, aggravation and apathy as a response to the conversation. Incorrect or unprepared responses to these negative emotions can seriously affect the final outcome.
I also learned that I am a mix of three styles when it comes to my style of conflict resolution: collaboration, accommodation and compromise. Although I already identify with the styles, I still enjoyed reading about the variety of confrontation approaches as they were explained.
I hate conflict and will do anything to end it. I’m the type of person to say “Don’t worry– be happy now…Because I’m going to try to fix this and make it right.”
When my approach– err, approaches, were given names, I recognized that whichever of the three I used for a situation really depends on the situation and people I’m dealing with. For the most part, my personality is to do whatever it takes to make the two sides or everyone involved happy, even if it means sacrificing something of my own. This I do joyfully however, because I thoroughly love making people happy and satisfied. Unless it involves matters of principle, I tend to bend to make peace. If pleasing everyone with everything then I resort to compromise.
Now when I took the self-assessment on the course to determine by conflict resolution styles, I got back that my style is “undefined.” Maybe I took the quiz wrong… or gave too many conflicting answers. Because like I said, I tend to do different things based on my situation.
I wasn’t really surprised by anything or desiring to learn more about anything else. Most of it seems to be common sense: being polite; controlling your anger; remaining calm when facing agitation or fear; respecting the feelings, emotions and dignity of the other party; knowing the emotional boundaries of both sides; using sensitivity or firm honesty when necessary; using tact, wisdom and grace in all circumstances; and holding yourself properly and watching your body language. These are just things you need to know and practice in order to be professional.
I would like to remember to practice these habits on a regular basis so that when it comes to being professional at one point, it’ll come somewhat naturally… or at least I will be well practiced.