How to control your emotions during a difficult conversation

People at work can't always just get along. In fact, they shouldn't. But disagreements can be more productive
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soft skills: relationship-building

The best leaders actually encourage their people to challenge each other’s ideas more, not less. Conflict at work is healthy: Friction can lead to more thoughtful approaches and innovation. However, conflict isn’t easy, and difficult conversations can feel like threats, says Amy Gallo.

“The problem is that our bodies and minds aren’t particularly good at discerning between the threats presented by not getting your way on the project plan and, say, being chased down by a bear,” writes Gallo. “Your heart rate and breathing rate spike, your muscles tighten, the blood in your body moves away from your organs, and you’re likely to feel uncomfortable.”

While these are natural responses, they can stand in the way of the productive dialogue that comes with healthy conflict at work. By taking control of physical responses and better managing emotions, anyone can take proactive steps to keep their cool before going into a difficult conversation with a colleague, Gallo says.

Read this article for five helpful strategies - from practicing mindfulness, to reciting a helpful mantra, to the importance of taking a break when conversations get heated.

Carla Rudder is community manager for The Enterprisers Project. She enjoys bringing new authors into the community and helping them craft articles that showcase their voice and deliver novel, actionable insights for readers.  

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