Keeping a cool head when things heat up

Stress runs so high today in our work places and our social environments that it takes a lot of energy to maintain a cool head.  A cool head can be defined as self-control or state management.  There are two outstanding characteristics that are the hallmark of successful people.  One is that they are focused on what they want and their wants are clearly defined.  The other is state management.  They do not get distracted by negative consequences nor do they dip into negative emotions such as anger or depression.

Although the situation may look like it needs an immediate response you can always simply step by from the situation with no response.  “I’ll get back to you on this,” or “Just a moment,” will work.  Even if you have the wind knocked out of you, give yourself time to catch your breath.  It is a way for you to keep your dignity.

Never respond to anything in anger. It will escalate the situation.

If you get an email that is inflammatory, go ahead and write your response.  Then save it in a draft. Go back to it later and re-read. You have an opportunity to adjust it before you send.  There are times when no response is needed.  I simply delete the email.  I’ve said what I needed to say and get it out but didn’t make the situation worse by sending a quick and inflammatory response.

Never result to name-calling.

Once you resort to name-calling, you have lost your flexibility.  Keeping your flexibility in responses will allow you to have the upper hand.  Stay in experience (what you see, hear and feel).  If someone else calls you names, ask them to give you information in see, hear, and feel.  “What did I do, or you saw or heard that led you to that conclusion.”  Keep them on the experience that led them to the name.  The name is a conclusion that they arrived at through their experience.

Remember that each person perceives situations from different points of view and world model. 

Acknowledge the person’s right to see something the way they see it.  “I can see how you would see it that way.”

 Stay in Curiosity! 

A curious person will ask questions to determine the validity of the complaint or accusation.

Consider thoughtfully how you will handle a situation before you take action.

There are always multiple ways to influence and/or handle a situation.  Consider what these might be that will be help you get what you want and offer the greatest influence in resolution.

Put time and space between you and the person who you have an issue with.

Take time out. Remember the “I’ll put it in my pipe and smoke on it.”  Over time you will develop a reputation for being thoughtful and persuasive without having to ‘throw your weight around.”  In the long run it will garner respect for you.

Think about things for the long run.

Short term something may seem devastating but what will it mean in the long run?  Be strategic in considering your options.  Change in the short run (uncomfortable) may offer big gains in the long run.

Always stay in rapport.

You have more influence when you maintain rapport and you may need this person for something down the road. 

Not all battles win the war. Pick them carefully.

Again, use the long term perspective.  In other words, know when to hold and know when to fold.

Remember if you lose your temper, you are no better than the other person.  Using a couple of these will begin the process of developing a great reputation in handling problems but will demonstrate healthy boundaries.