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  • Mike Burke

1. Harness your Emotions

I was always fascinated by managers that could remain in complete control when it seemed like the building was burning down. People are naturally attracted to leaders with this skill.

Let’s face it; situations aren’t always fair for you. But in management, seemingly unfair situations are inevitable.

2. Determine the Big Picture

Consider your goal and imagine what the situation will look like when you achieve it.

Visualize how impressed everyone is going to be when you remain calm and deal with the situation.

3. Figure out why the situation exists

Misaligned goals cause most of the problems. Sales want to sell more; the warehouse wants less overtime, purchasing wants to keep their inventory low, well you get the picture.

Be objective and understand why the negative situation is happening. Then consider in your head solutions that will work best for everyone.

4. Decide how you will respond

Go through three possible responses in your mind. Ask yourself, what good will happen and what bad would happen if you responded each way.

At first, this will seem clumsy or even impossible. Take your time even if people are staring at you, waiting for a decision. Wait 10 to 20 seconds and come up with a positive response rather than blurt out any emotion you are feeling.

5. Articulate Your Positive Response

Its always best to start the conversation using bridging words, phrases, and questions when responding to a negative situation. Most people expect an argument or at least push-back so using the bridging technique calms the other person down.

Common Bridging Phrases:

  • Let’s work together.

  • Your needs are important.

  • Let’s problem-solve rather than argue.

  • We have a mutual problem to be solved.

Common Bridging Words:

Us – We – Our – Can - Let’s talk – Appreciate

Common Bridging Questions:

What do you need? - What do you think? - Help me understand - What would you say to…?

6. Decide What Went Well and What Didn’t

Decide what worked and didn’t work. Practice what you’ll do and say in the future. Remember your goal is not to be perfect but to improve your skills a little bit every day.

7. Give Yourself Credit

I say give yourself credit because most likely, you’re the only one that you work with that is working on improving your skills. Think of how much faster you are going to advance than the people just getting through the day.

So, give yourself credit!



©2020 by Mike Burke Management.