I had a leader tell me that the way he teaches his managers to deal with conflict is to “IGNORE THE EMOTION.”
While I appreciate the motive behind not becoming combative with someone, and a brief ‘cooling off’ period can sometimes be helpful, ignoring emotions is one of the WORST strategies for resolving conflict. It’s like putting a band-aid over an infection and expecting it to heal.
Emotions are like the warning lights on the dashboard of a car. They are indicators. Red flags. Flashing signs that show us that something needs our attention. And we MUST pay attention to them.
One of the keys to becoming a great COACH LEADER is learning how to respond to and support others THROUGH their EMOTIONS rather than needing to ignore them.
Staying curious, open, not assuming, naming what we are observing and genuinely asking about it.
Here’s what NOT to do when you or one of your team members is experiencing a strong emotion about a situation:
– IGNORE the emotion
– DOWNPLAY it
– NORMALIZE it
– RUSH TO FIX it
– JUSTIFY it
– REACT to it
Here’s what TO DO when dealing with emotion:
– IDENTIFY and NAME the emotion
– GET CURIOUS about the emotion;
– ASK QUESTIONS to further understand & DIG DEEPER into the “why”
– ACKNOWLEDGE the emotion for what it’s trying to tell you and the person
– DECIDE what positive actions you and the person can take in light of the emotion
Remember, emotions themselves aren’t good or bad. They are just indicators…information…data…helpful notifications that let you know something needs attention.
What emotional “indicators” can you start paying attention to—in yourself or in your team—today?