//Avoiding the Downward Spiral
July 13, 2018

Avoiding the Downward Spiral

By Greg Kirsch | Category: Intouch Culture |

Have you ever been in a situation where you disagreed with someone? Where the stakes were high, and emotions were starting to run hot? What usually happens? If you’re like many people, one of two things: you “clam up” and silently seethe …. or you give the other person a “piece of your mind.” In the latter case, maybe you feel good for a moment or two, but later you realize you went too far and probably damaged the relationship.

Here’s some good news. We can learn skills and techniques to handle those situations. We call these interactions with opposing opinions, high stakes and strong emotions “crucial conversations.” And Intouch has invested in teaching our employees how to successfully navigate them.

Crucial Conversations revolves around the concept that if you don’t talk it out, you’ll act it out. We learn that between “clamming up” or “giving the other person a piece of your mind” is another option: healthy dialogue. Central to the idea is that both parties must contribute their perspective. Both parties must have mutual respect for the other and look for mutual purpose.

But don’t think it’s always easy! We spend a lot of time in the training exploring how we end up being so upset with the other person. It goes like this: the other person does or says something. So, to make sense of what they said or did, we tell ourselves a story about their motives. And it’s usually not a pretty story! We make judgements, attribute bad intent to him, or make some ugly conclusion about her. The story we tell ourselves leads to an emotion, and it goes into a downward spiral from there.

But we can learn techniques to stop the spiral! We learn to retrace the path back to the facts. And by doing so, we might discover that the other person’s motive isn’t as nefarious as we led ourselves to believe.

We learn ways to make it safe for the other party to share their perspective. Which leads to a successful resolution. And all of this works even if they haven’t been through the training!

Intouch believes in helping our teammates learn and grow. Training techniques like how to have a crucial conversation demonstrate to our employees that Intouch cares about each teammate’s growth and development.