Redirecting Uncomfortable Conversations
You’re never supposed to discuss politics or religion at the table right.
What about at work? Add personal problems and gossip and that’s a big fat NO.
So what if it does happen that a work related conversation or a pleasant chat about the weekend turns into an intense and uncomfortable debate or even argument over politics, religion or some juicy gossip? Even more, what if a colleague starts to discuss personal matters that put you in an awkward or uncomfortable situation?
The power move is in how you handle those conversations, or better yet, help end them in a diplomatic and compassionate fashion.
First, never allow your behavior to come into question. NEVER. Always keep your head. Always maintain your dignity. Never yell. Never curse. Never be mean. If you are feeling unable to maintain your composure, walk away and regroup. Seriously, in that case, your power move is to WALK AWAY!
Second, think before you speak. If you do what I just said a second ago, then this shouldn’t be a problem.
The single best way to manage these situations is by using your emotional intelligence. What is that? EI or EQ is the ability to manage your emotions and the emotions of others around you through the awareness of what is happening in that space at that moment i.e. reading a room. If you have NO EI, then you definitely should not be engaging anyone in conversations about politics or religion or anything else that could go south. So think about that seriously before you start to instigate those around you.
If you can manage 1 and 2 then use your emotional intelligence to deescalate a conversation or end it all together. A heated conversation about politics and religion is best to avoid completely in my opinion but if it does happen, the first thing I would do is remind the parties involved (including myself) that we can respectfully agree to disagree and that we should really get back to work on that deadline. I know it sounds overly simplistic, but there is a place and time for everything and work is not the time or place to discuss the current scandal on capital hill or where you stand on religious freedom. Even working at a university where intellectual debate is encouraged and welcomed, you don’t want to do it at the expense of your reputation or your temper.
So what about a colleague who over shares? While telling your colleagues that we have to get back to work can be open and shut, you may want to show a little more empathy toward another human being who has chosen you to share something personal with. If you have the time and the desire to simply listen to a colleague’s woes, then I don’t see why you cannot be there for them. If your time is limited or you honestly aren’t counselor material, politely excuse yourself and maybe suggest someone else that could be a great resource to them. IF you are open to helping out, offer to go for coffee or lunch later if you do want to lend an ear.
Emotional intelligence is an important concept. Do some research on it. Understanding your EQ and the EQ of those around you can give you some serious insight into how others think and how they may react to various situations. Those kinds of insights can help you stand out above the crowd. #powermovemonday #solutionsnotresolutions You got this!