Clues You Can Use to Soothe Clashes


Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

We all have someone we have to deal with who is somehow blocking us from getting what we want. It may be opposing counsel, but it may just as likely be our own partner or a staff member who isn’t performing to our expectations. In those situations our frustration levels mount, and some of us sneer or explode. We go from dealing with a difficult person to being a difficult person.

Many such problems can be solved or prevented if we can improve our communication skills. Here are some ‘clues you can use’ to improve your communication and reduce the conflict in your office.
1. Deal with annoyances while they are small.
This concept particularly applies to people we interact with frequently. Sometimes someone does something that annoys us, inconveniences us or hurts us, but because it is a small matter, we think it would be too petty to bring up. By the time it (or something like it) happens the tenth time, we have a big stack of grievances to address, and our emotions run high. We appear to react out of proportion to the incident, but actually we are reacting to ten incidents. Ambrose Bierce, an American author and newspaper columnist, said, ‘Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.’ If we simply address the issue the first or second time it occurs, we usually can discuss it calmly, casually and without a lot of emotional investment.

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