Do You Have Fireworks at Work?
Have you ever had someone just explode with anger? Right out of the blue, they become animated, arms everywhere and their face contorted with rage.
Here in the UK, we celebrate November 5th as “Fireworks Night” which marks the discovery of a plot to blow up The Houses of Parliament hundreds of years ago. You can find out more here http://www.bonfirenight.net/gunpowder.php We have bonfire parties and people dress up and generally have fun. There are also societies that take this occasion very seriously and will go to great lengths to represent the time and traditions accurately.
Now, not all conflict is bad, as most high performing teams will argue and shout at each other. We call this creative conflict and should be managed and encouraged.
However there is also conflict which is personal, destructive and pulls teams apart. Try these essential skills to increase collaboration and reduce conflict and fireworks.
When someone explodes without warning, it can be shocking for everyone involved. Mostly, this is an unexpected turn of events and the person concerned will often not realise they have over-reacted in any way.
Normally passive people can set off like a firework when they think they have been overlooked, ignored just once too often! Their need in this moment is to be appreciated, they want attention and to be noticed.
What you need to ensure is that you don’t get a repeat explosion!
Step one: Get their attention
Wave your arms, speak their name repeatedly and raise your voice enough to be heard. Be careful here because you don’t want to fan the flames by seeming to be aggressive with them.
Step two: Aim for the heart
Tell them that you do care about them, their ideas and their work. Tell them how it makes you feel when they are un-happy.
Step three: Reduce the intensity
Slow down your voice pace and drop the tone slightly. Use smoothing tones in your words to take the steam out of the situation.
Step four: Take a break
They need to regain their composure, so take a time-out and reconnect at another, more productive time.
Step five: Find the fuse.
At a more composed moment, much later, discuss with the person why they fired off the way they did. Was there a trigger word? Is it a particular situation or time of year? Find the fuse, so that you know where it is in the future!
Have your best week ever!