Playing Nice in the Sandbox!
Playing nice in the Sandbox!
It ‘s the time of year when the winter doldrums can get us all a little cranky, so I would like to spend a moment on how to get along with those we just don’t like. The first step is to understand that,
1.) We cannot like everyone. We are all human, we all have faults, we each have different levels of experience and maturity. We are in an industry that is all inclusive. Diversity is often unfamiliar and that newness can create anxiety. Be aware of your own discomfort.
2.) Don’t base Expectations on History. We learn. We get better. If you have had a bad experience with a colleague, do not compound it with expecting the worst. Start with a clean slate. A few years ago, I coached an agent that made huge professional leaps in a short period of time. His roughest obstacle was overcoming the reputation of being a bully. His colleagues were delighted to work with him in his new guise! There were some that were just not prepared to let him change. Expect the best and prepare for how to face the worst.
3.) Do not take things personally. Do not let dealing with the issues have a negative impact on your emotions. Separate the issues from your emotional well-being. Do not engage in behavior that has nothing to do with the transaction and everything to do with personality. This is not personal. This will take practice. Understanding and recognizing your emotions in ‘real time’ takes some learning. Separating emotion (once recognized) from the work can become a smooth transition--with practice.
4.) Do not engage. When someone goes negative choose Tact over Temper. If you can keep your decorum when someone else cannot, you will keep the upper hand. Express yourself clearly. Never attack on a personal level. Be consistent, you can be soft on the other person while being firm on the issue. This approach will give you a professional reputation that will further every transaction you touch. Conversely you can be labeled a ‘Trouble-Maker’ if you stoop to their negative behavior.
5.) Consider a Broader Perspective. Others reactions are not about you. Negative or Toxic people are acting on what they know. We cannot begin to imagine someone else’s journey or know where they are at. Don’t try. Our job is to represent our client. Know that dealing with someone we don’t like is part of our job, it creates character and builds personal fortitude. It is humbling. Focus inward and practice self-control.
6.) Be Proactive. If you are dealing with historical experience and reputation, prepare to control your emotions. Use self-talk to not react. Be informed on the issues so you can stick to the facts. Disarm with a kind comment. Gather support, know when to call in those with cooler heads, perhaps a Mentor or a Boss. (before things get heated) Use your professional boundaries without being dismissive or cold.
7.) Reflect on self. This is the hard one. We all know when we have been negative. There is not one of us who has not engaged emotionally when we were tired, overworked, overstressed or distracted by a personal matter. Look inward before beginning negotiating. Take your emotional pulse. Be quick to correct any damage caused. If you must, break off until you can get your equilibrium. No Excuses.