Five Powerful Tips To Navigate Loaded Relationships
The Owl and The Beetle: Thursday Memo
Have you ever found yourself in an argument with someone you have a strong relationship with?
Maybe it's your spouse or a close family member. You start with a simple remark, and before you know it, things have spiraled out of control, and you're in the middle of a massive fight.
It's a frustrating and confusing experience, but it's also one that we can learn from.
Loaded relationships lead to difficult conversations, and arguments are more impactful. When we have a history with someone, we bring all that baggage into our interactions.
We have preconceived notions about who they are and what they're capable of, and we're quick to jump to conclusions about their intentions. This can make it challenging to have productive conversations, especially when we're discussing sensitive topics.
The relationship between a manager and the team members is loaded. Managers have much power and influence over their employees, and their words and actions can significantly impact the team's morale and productivity. Therefore, a manager should tread carefully when making remarks without thinking about the real impact of their words.
In any relationship, we must be mindful of how we communicate with others.
Here are 5 tips to help you navigate arguments with people you have a loaded relationship.
The very last one might surprise you for its effectiveness.
Let’s get to it:
1/5. Be aware of your triggers
If specific topics or comments are likely to set you off, be mindful of them. Take a step back and consider why those things bother you so much. Understanding your triggers can help you stay calm and focused during difficult conversations.
I recently wrote about triggers in conversations:
2/5. Listen actively
In an argument, it's easy to get defensive and stop listening to what the other person is saying. But active listening is critical to resolve conflicts and build stronger relationships. Try to understand the other person's perspective, even if you disagree with it.
Avoid binary (yes/no) questions, and stay open to unexpected information that will be shared with you. Keep an open mind throughout the whole argument.
Use questions like: “Can you tell me more about….” and “How did you expect me to…”; they do wonders!
3/5. Take a break
If things get heated, taking a break and returning to the conversation later is okay. Sometimes, we need time to cool off and collect our thoughts before we can continue the discussion.
Use this powerful sentence: “I feel upset, and this conversation is very important to me; let’s take a break, get a glass of water, and return to our convo in 5 minutes.”
As a manager, normalize this strategy with your team. Teach by example and show people that it’s ok to show vulnerability yet commitment to a critical conversation.