Stay cool, stay in control

Poonamjot Kaur Sidhu

A lot of us can relate to a situation where we sat on a round table and had a difference of opinion from a co-worker which slowly escalated to a heated argument. 

The current organisation structures bring people from diverse perspectives together where they work on a shared platform to achieve a common goal. Each individual brings to table his own thought process, outlook and individual approach to a given assignment. Thus, conflicts are bound to occur. Usually these are categorised as productive conflicts due their ability to bring out best possible solution. But if not channelised rightly, these may easily turn into heated arguments. The trick does not lie in avoiding these as that would mean suppressing feelings, which can lead to frustration. Thus, handling such volatile situations with the right verbal and non-verbal cues is imperative so that no long-term damage happens.

Here are some dmeasures you may take to stay in control:

  • Respect the other person’s view point. Plainly or bluntly disregarding their approach will only further deteriorate the situation. Use words like, “I understand your perspective but I am looking at this from this angle” or “I totally get why you feel this way but I have this in mind”. This will help the other person to calm down. 
  • Retain the conversation as issue centric. No matter how inclined you might feel, do not deviate to past instances or personal factors. Your sole intention should be to find a solution to the assignment in hand and not to settle any personal scores. 
  • Be all ears and lower the defence. Rather than focusing your energy on being defensive, try to pivot your perspective on facts and reasoning that the other person can relate too.
  • Don’t raise those brows, keep the body language positive. Aggression speaks louder non-verbally. Keep your hands outwards, don’t fold your arms, no banging the table, avoid waving of hands are some things to keep in mind.
  • Try to settle the matter there and then. Lingering it  will only escalates the issue. Try and close all ends related to it on that table itself. 
  • Conflicts or arguments are somethings that are bound to happen at certain instances in your career as you can’t always agree to everything and vice versa. But treat the next day as a new beginning, if the other person does not, then take the initiative, smile and greet. Build relations and not egos, it will not only take you far but will make you a happy soul too.

— The writer is Academic Associate, Indian School of Business, Mohali

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