Pressure Levels are all time high in work places today. Adverse market conditions, intense competition, demanding clients, disruption, ever changing technology etc are testing the emotional intelligence of corporate mortals every minute. It’s then natural that the fuse burns out and some unfortunate soul bears the brunt of pent up anger. I used to have a wonderful manager, who showcased a bipolar disorder in behavior based on the spouse interaction quality of that particular day. This would have eventually pushed me to consult an astrologer with the couple’s horoscope to decide the outcome of my work day. After being managed by a wide range of Leaders and by managing an even more diverse set of team members, a big learning I had was how not to behave in a corporate set-up, especially when you are at your wits end. I am listing below, three simple tips for all Angry young men and women out there, while having a potentially unpleasant conversation
Decibel Count Check
One of the tell tale signs of a foul discussion in the making is the gradual change of tone and increasing volumes irrespective of the words that comes out of the mouth; however nice they are. Other than the resultant sore feeling it creates this is also proven to be unhealthy. Yelling at someone in anger creates stress and tension that is often escalated into conflict. Why give the HR team a parenting/counseling opportunity at your expense? It is extremely crucial and important that you are aware & more importantly in control of your tone and volume at all times in order to reduce stress, anxiety & conflict. It will be a good place to start if conscious efforts are put to have a neutral tone while talking and exercising lower volumes of speech the angrier you get. One more advantage of following a soft voice approach is that everything you communicate in a high pressure scenario gets registered as noise pollution is less. No prizes for guessing the outcome of yelling at your colleague/team member in a desperate attempt to share critical feedback
Root Cause Analysis- Listen & Reason
Given the tight schedules we run by default or due to a faulty design, there is lot of optimization and time management we attempt. One of the collateral damages of focused time management could be the reduced active listening. I once had a hilarious experience witnessing two corporate honchos clad in suits yelling at each other awaiting a delayed flight. The only thing they had in common was a genuine lack of interest on the other’s perspective. Hence there was lot of reading between lines and jumping to conclusions increasing the overall stress levels and obviously the decibel count also went above the limits set. Without claiming universal applicability understanding root cause and perspectives via listening and not hearing would put to rest unpleasant chats sooner than later, by actually serving our time management goal as well. If I recollect the airport experience, it’s safe to presume that everyone else within 10 Sq Meters of the arguing gentlemen had a good time and a personal entertainment system off flight. By being over aggressive, loud and abusive, imagine how many people we entertained last week.
This should not be confused for abruptly moving out of an on-going conversation. By walking away, I meant a polite exit, but temporary in nature. Needless to say, workplaces today are filled with potential irritants in the form of few in management, select colleagues, some team members, slow systems and processes. When you feel that you are going to slap someone or smash the laptop, either take a lunch break, grab a coffee from the vending machine or just walk outside for a while leaving your phone and email. Getting away from the confines of four walls will give you the much needed physical and mental space. At some point despite how emotionally intelligent we are, a day or event arises which will get us close to the breaking point. This is absolutely fine and permissible. However, being ready for it and handling the situation like matured people do in a civilized fashion will help all. Have a few tips and tricks which will calm you down and always keep your professionalism intact, no matter how bad the situation seems. This will take people places and help Management identify the Leaders amongst a sea of foot soldiers. Stay Cool!