Recovering from a messy conversation

You probably know the situation. An interaction, however well intended, completely flopped. And you might well have played a good solid part in it and you are also angry/confused/hurt. As you walk away you wonder what happened, and how to bounce back without losing too much sleep. This is a fairly common situation. 

Here are some useful steps (that works for yourself or when you help other people debrief a situation, e.g. your team members):

Ask yourself: What part of me did that? What did that part need? Did I voice that in any way? Did I get that need met? What else can I do to address at least some of that need right now? 

If you are able to at this moment, try to step in the other person's shoes. What part of them might have been involved? What might that part have needed? Did they get their needs met? What are possible ways for us to reconnect and pick this up again in a more constructive way? 

We often don't talk about what we really need (and often we are not fully conscious of this ourselves). No wonder we are often frustrated and conversations can derail. Especially in a business environment, people don't always talk about the several layers of needs going on at the same time, and the conversation often stays superficial. So both sides are not fulfilled and needs are unmet and frustration can start spiralling. So, as you are thinking about your next upcoming difficult conversation, start thinking about needs and how to address them. And if you are brave, you might even float this in your conversation... 

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Written by Christine Locher FRSA

• London-based cosmopolitan
• Experience in high-pressure business environments and in international leadership roles (top 5 consulting)
• High "BS-o-meter" paired with deep compassion
• Book author (winter 2017) “the Decisive Edge – how exceptional leaders act on their Values, Intuition and Integrity to make better Decisions and increase Impact”… Read more

Written by Christine Locher FRSA

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