Every day at work we are connecting with someone. Either in person, on the phone, through social media, etc. We spend our work days connecting with employees, coworkers, customers by coaching, sharing ideas and often just putting out fires. Most of the time we are selling a product, an idea or a service to everyone we meet during the day. Sometimes the connection is easy. We have a shared interest and the conversation just flows. There is almost an instant recognition between souls. We feel drawn to that person and we feel at ease. The experience is a pleasant one. However, sometimes when we interact with someone the walls go up. We get an immediate gut reaction that says "Whoa! I'm not diggin the vibes from this person!" and we shut down. It could be someone we usually get along with or someone we've just met. We disengage and try to protect ourselves from any unpleasant conversation. We run away from the situation and think this is the best way to handle it. "Best not to have any confrontation with this one! I see an argument just waiting to explode!"
Or so we think.
If you've had a challenging situation at work where you've had to take a deep breath before interacting with another person, ask yourself this: What am I thinking right now? Am I coming into the situation with the expectation that there will be a blow up? Am I thinking "What is this person's problem? Why are they so argumentative?" Maybe instead think this way: How am I showing up? What part am I playing? How can I bring light to this situation?
Connection isn't always easy. It doesn't always flow. Sometimes it's messy and difficult to deal with people. Especially when they're abrasive or have a opposite opinion than yours. If you want to make a difference in the workplace, try these three steps when you're in a difficult situation and want to step up to the plate and get it resolved:
1. Be genuine. Don't try and appease and take the other person's side just to get out of the conversation. Being authentic is always appreciated. Be yourself and have confidence that your positive vibes will radiate outwards.
2. Pay attention. Listen to the other person's concerns and really pay attention to their body language as well as yours. Listening not only means hearing the words, but watching how people express themselves.
3. Forget your agenda. Drop all thoughts about yourself and the point you want to get across and let them speak their mind. Most people just want to be heard. Acknowledgement will break down walls every time.
In the end, we don't have to always be in agreement, however we should recognize that we could be a little more tolerant of each other and have more compassion. Everyone is going through one thing or another. We are not here to judge what's important, what matters, how people should behave. Our job is so much more than just our title. Our job is to connect. Not just with our peeps, but with everyone we meet. Remember that most people are doing the best they can. If we can show up with the intention of healing, growing and learning, connection will happen effortlessly. And guess what? Your peeps are watching you…how you handle these situations. Be the leader and step into your role. You will undoubtedly feel a greater connection with your tribe, which will expand as you lead in such a way.