What to do when things get heated

feb16-16-126942880-850x478No matter how reasonable you try to be in a work transaction, sometimes lines get crossed, mistakes get made, and conversations turn into arguments. It’s a lose-lose situation, with both (or all) parties struggling to be understood, and not understanding each other.

What are some of the strategies one can use to control those emotions that rise when you least need or expect them? HBR’s Jeff Weiss has some words for the wise:

First, focus on your physical reaction: take some deep breaths and ‘count to ten’. Secondly, listen. Even if the person is angry and venting, sometimes the wisest thing is just to let the other person ‘blow off steam’. Thirdly, acknowledge what they are saying and indicate that they have been heard. Fourthly, empathise and reframe the problem as something you can work on together. Fifthly, find out more about what is causing the frustration/anger and work out what it is you did/did not do to cause it. Step 6, and the last resort, is to take a break — take a ‘time out’ for you both to reflect on what is going on and come together at an agreed time and place to look for a solution… and of course, the key here is a solution, not a blaming session.

Hmmm… sounds like good advice for a marriage as well. Read more, with a bit more depth, at HBR.org.