When You’re Angry: 3 Things to Consider

When You’re Angry: 3 Things to Consider

“I was angry with my friend; I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow.”

This is the first line of A Poison Tree by late 18th century-early 19th century English poet, William Blake.

His sentiment is one shared by many: don’t bottle up your anger. Talk about it. Make peace with the person with whom you are angry.

I remember when Marjory said, “I gave my colleague a piece of my mind for withholding information from me, and, oh my, that was the beginning of weeks of him shunning me. I thought this was the right approach, but the relationship only deteriorated.”

What Marjory did not realize is that there are ways to express your anger that will offend and make your colleague defensive, and there are ways that have a better chance of your being heard, without starting a war!

Three things you want to consider:

(1) How am I feeling? I mean, what is the feeling behind the anger? Was it that Marjory really was afraid that she would make a mistake because she didn’t have all the facts? Was she worried that her colleague didn’t think her worthy of the information? Was she concerned that there is a power struggle building up and her colleague wants to diminish her power? Get in touch with the primary feeling.

(2) Share your feeling and how your colleague’s behavior is affecting you, and

(3) BE READY TO LISTEN TO THE RESPONSE.

Marjory might have said, “I was afraid I’d say the wrong thing about the doctor’s new initiative, because you didn’t tell me about the report that came out.” Her colleague might reply, “You didn’t need to see the report.” or “But I did. I put it in your box.” or “I was in a hurry and I forgot.”

If her colleague feels under attack, he might respond in a hostile manner. Marjory would have to LISTEN, leave a space for silence in hopes that he’ll say more, and then respond, paraphrasing what he has said in order to confirm to him that she has, indeed, been listening. If it’s a simple misunderstanding, again paraphrasing will tell him that he’s been heard.

You don’t want to risk escalating the emotional temperature. Listening can provide an opportunity to reduce everyone’s temperature before Marjory may need to repeat her concern, not as an attack but as a way of sharing her concern and gaining understanding.

Try it! And send us feedback on your experience.

Survey on Communication

ICSWorkplaceCommunication Blog

Today’s Survey –

Tell us what you think:

  1. Is interpersonal communication problematic in your workplace (or elsewhere in your life)?  Yes____   No_
  2. Have you participated in communication training in your workplace (or elsewhere)? Yes____   No____
  3.  Have you used case studies in any of your education or training?   Yes____   No___

Yes and No responses are fine.  Further comments are welcome.

Do you agree that “communication works?”  If so, spread the word.

Tell your friends about our blog.  Encourage them to SIGN UP at www.ICSWorkplaceCommuniation.Com

*LinkedIn members: mention www.ICSWorkplaceCommunication.com

*Tweet at www.ICSWorkplaceCommunication.com

*Forward to your Facebook page, your friends, relatives and co-workers.

Teachers and professors: Use Communication Case Studies in your classroom.

*Business people: Reprint this blog and share it with your colleagues and use Communication Case Studies for staff training.

Signing off – Carolyn Shadle and John Meyer, PhDs, info@ICSWorkplaceCommunication.com

 

Communication Cue: Don’t Be A Door Mat

 Do you shy away from speaking your mind?  Do you have good ideas that you don’t share?  Do you want someone to do something (or stop doing something) but you don’t let him or her know?

Perhaps you’re afraid that you’ll explode.  Maybe you think you’ll sound silly or like a whiner. Are you afraid that you might make a fool of yourself and get too emotional?  Maybe you are worried that anything you say will hurt your relationship.

When you have spoken up you’ve lost control and uttered words that you’d wished were left unsaid. It’s not uncommon for people to swing from saying nothing (and being tromped upon like a door mat) to bursting forth in anger or anguish.

To avoid this swing you need to find a communication structure that you are comfortable with.  Instead of the “script” that you learned as a child, you need to find a new pattern that will give you confidence to speak your mind without causing hurt to yourself or others.

We suggest the I-statement.  It includes an honest statement of your feelings (instead of your swallowing them), a non-blameful (non-blameful is the operative word) description of the behavior that’s troubling you, and information about how that behavior affects you.

For example, “I’m really worried when you are late getting me your report, because I may not have time to get the whole report together by the deadline.”

In Communication Case Studies you’ll find further discussion of the I-statement and lots of examples.

Signing off – Carolyn Shadle and John Meyer, Ph.D, www.ICSWorkplaceCommunication.com

Difficult Conversations

ICSWorkplaceCommunication Blog

Today’s topic: Difficult Conversations – a great little book

 You need to confront your colleague about his or her work habits.  You want to ask for a raise or time off or schedule modification.  You need to present your customer with disappointing news.

We’ve all had them – those times when you have to talk about something you’d rather avoid.  Why is it?

Several participants in the Harvard Negotiation Project have written a little book entitled Difficult Conversations (published by Penguin Books in 2000).

In this little book they unfold for us three elements that make conversations difficult.  Understanding these can help us prepare for those moments.

They suggest that the first “red flag” is that we want to score points.  We approach the issue as a win-lose situation, and we are assuming we will win because we’re right!

The second signal that this is going to be a difficult conversation is the awareness of strong feelings about the matter.  We’re angry, worried, afraid, or maybe embarrassed. Knowing this can help us prepare for the difficult conversation.

And third, in this encounter we are concerned about our self-identity.  Will we come across as rude and unprofessional?  Will we fly off the handle?   Will we burst into tears and be labeled an emotional wreck?

Awareness of the presence of these elements alerts us to the fact that we are in the difficult conversation zone.

I highly recommend their book for further discussion of these elements and suggestions for approaching the difficult conversation.

Also, watch for our article in the May issue of Trends magazine (published by the American Animal Association) where we will offer tips on handing the difficult conversation.

You’ll also find tips and examples in Communication Case Studies.

Do you agree that “communication works?”  If so, spread the word.

Tell your friends about our blog.  Encourage them to SIGN UP at www.ICSWorkplaceCommuniation.Com

*LinkedIn members: mention www.ICSWorkplaceCommunication.com

*Tweet at www.ICSWorkplaceCommunication.com

*Forward to your Facebook page, your friends, relatives and co-workers.

Teachers and professors: Use Communication Case Studies in your classroom.

*Business people: Reprint this blog and share it with your colleagues and use Communication Case Studies for staff training.

Signing off – Carolyn Shadle and John Meyer, PhDs, info@ICSWorkplaceCommunication.co

 

 

 

 

 

Go Beyond Hearing – In 4 Steps

 Step 1.  You hear the words. Don’t forget to remain silent! You can’t hear without being silent. It’s an important part of communication. (It may take time, but practice being comfortable with silence.) Keep your eyes focused on the speaker’s eyes, too.

Step 2. “Listen” for the feelings behind the words.  This means continuing your silence. (I know, that can be hard, but try it!) Watch for body language and consider the words you’ve heard in the context of former conversations or other behavior you have observed. Don’t rush the conversation. Focus on your colleague, not on what you are going to say next.

Step 3. Paraphrase the words.  Now you can break your silence!  Say something like, “You said that….”  This will assure your colleague that you are listening.  It will also be a good way to check if you have really heard the intended message.  And it gives you some time to consider what feeling maybe accompanying your colleague’s message.

Step 4. Reflect back (as if you’re holding a mirror) the feelings that you “hear.”  You could say something like, “My sense is that you are feeling__________about this situation.”   Or you could ask, “Are you feeling_____?” Your colleague will correct you if you’re off target but will appreciate your effort to understand.

You may need to repeat Steps 1 through 4 if your colleague is upset or unsure that you are really willing to listen.  Don’t be in a hurry to have your say.  Taking time to listen will pay off handsomely.

This process is essential when your colleague has a problem.  Try it during non-problem conversations just to get the hang of it.  You’ll find it transformative.

And look to Communication Case Studies where you will find a fuller discussion of listening and lots of examples.

Do you agree that “communication works?”  If so, spread the word.

 

Tell your friends about our blog.  Encourage them to SIGN UP at www.ICSWorkplaceCommuniation.com

*

Signing off – Carolyn Shadle and John Meyer, PhDs, info@ICSWorkplaceCommunication.com