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Be SMART with People

Businesses or relationships cannot thrive without proper communication and efficient collaboration. People tend to avoid difficult scenarios and communication which might lead to stressful situations. Life is full of conflict, difficult conversations, and people. The key is to gain practical skills to effectively manage this in an emotionally intelligent manner. Effectively dealing with people and teams, especially in the workplace, requires some important skills which one can learn. It can be challenging but vitally important for success.

5 Practical tips for dealing with conflict, difficult people and having tough conversations.

As said, conflict is inevitable, but whether there is a positive or negative outcome depends on how the conflict is managed. How you manage a difficult person or situation depends on your behaviour, whether you are actively engaged rather than avoiding the situation, and how self-aware you are. These practical tips will help you get comfortable with having those hard conversations; it will help you to deal with tricky confrontations and make managing stubborn and complicated people easier.

First, decide if the issue is worth it.

Don’t avoid or try to escape having those tough conversations or facing the conflict head on, but don’t fuel pointless issues with unnecessary attention. The ammunition you give in a moment of rage or only because you want to reply in anger, might backfire and worsen the situation. Rather calmly think if it is worth pursuing a meaningful conversation with the person.

Thomas Paine said: “The great remedy for anger is delay.”

Take a breather. Never fight fire with fire.

“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret” said Ambrose Bierce.

Don’t address an angry person when you yourself are frustrated, irritated or angry. Rather calm down first and give the other person’s anger a chance to subside. Level-headed communication in a controlled and calm environment will be much more productive in solving the issue. 

Practice active listening.

By practicing active listening, it will enable you to determine the true core of the problem. Instead of arguing or trying to convince the other person, focus on the problem at hand and try to understand from the other person’s point of view. This will enable you to respond in a mature and rational manner.

Be Emotionally Intelligent.

No matter how the other person might treat you, always remember how you would feel if you were in that person’s shoes. Refrain from saying, “I understand but…” Rather try and empathise with what the other person is going through by responding with, “I really want to understand better…” Be mindful of them; respect them and help protect their dignity. Be self-aware, empathetic and manage the complexity and difficulty of that person or situation the emotionally intelligent way.

Train yourself and your staff in the art of being SMART with People.

The Mindspa Institute’s acronym SMART stands for Strategic Meaningful Assertive Results-orientated Techniques for dealing with all people. This fun, practical workshop explores all aspects related to effective and emotionally intelligent management of people at all levels of your business and personal life. It equips delegates with the knowledge and practical skills to manage difficult people, difficult conversations, and conflict. It explains the principles of effective inter-personal communication and how to understand behaviour in order to modify it. This workshop will be beneficial for everyone who has wanted to handle bosses, spouses, children, in-laws, or employees in a more effective manner.

When conflict occurs repeatedly it normally results in costly disruptions for both individual and business. No one likes to be confronted and no one likes having difficult conversations. To handle difficult people, conflict and conversations requires empathy and skills development. Adequate skills’ training prepares you and minimizes detrimental consequences.