Thoughts From the Coffee Table: Sunrise? Or Sunset?
I spoke recently with someone about a work conflict. She was certain that her colleague was out to get her. The root of the issue, however, was miscommunication. Which lead to assumptions. Which heightened tensions. And then emotion creeped in.
I kept asking her to “tell me more” until we reached a point where I asked “Have you spoken directly with this person?”
No. The situation was too tense.
And yet, because there was no direct communication, the tension could not be diffused.
We began to role play various ways she could begin the dialogue, and her stance became less combative, less about defending, and more about trying to understand what had really happened. Practice gave her confidence to find the right words, and to assume the best rather than put on armor for the worst.
Don’t get me wrong. There are people who don’t operate with good intentions. But these two women, although competitive, had never been combative. Until this incident.
When the conversation did take place, it was all about mixed messages, miscommunication, and a level of competitiveness that allowed doubt to creep in. And settle. We see with our own eyes and make assumptions quickly.
Sunrise? Sunset? Let’s talk it through.