3 Ways To Stay Calm During A Confrontation

There are at least 3 simple ways you can stay calm during a confrontation namely: –

  • Learn to manage your triggers
  • Always convey respect
  • Be accountable

Learn to manage your triggers

Most of the time many people are unaware of the way they will respond when they feel threatened. A general rule of thumb is that you are more likely to react in an irrational manner if you sense that you are under attack. The key therefore to staying calm during a confrontation is to recognize your triggers. You must identify and isolate the thing or things that trigger or unleash your dark side. Research conducted by Dr. David Rock of the NeuroLeadership Institute shows that there are at least 3 main social threats that serve as stressors to humans generally.  They are:

  • Feeling that your competence or expertise is being undermined
  • Being micromanaged
  • Seeing a situation as unfair

When you think someone or others see you as being incompetent you will tend to be defensive. This often makes people strike at the source of their irritant or shame. Another sticky point is micromanagement. This makes a person feel inferior, sometimes worthless and useless especially for those who are already insecure. Telling someone what to do and dictating obvious steps to take are usually not welcome.

Injustice has probably lead to more wars in the world, more skirmishes on the battlefield and disagreements in the workplace than any other single factor. People dislike being treated unfairly, it automatically and naturally leads to confrontations. Sometimes when people strike out or react aggressively it could due to the fact that they feel like their capabilities and ideas are not being taken into account.

The truth is that even though it is very nice to talk about managing our triggers, it is easier said than done. In order to override your initial impulses, it is better to pause and take a deep breath before responding. You should give yourself a chance to think things through before you start to respond and this will make your conversation or response more productive and meaningful.

Always convey respect

Generally, all human beings at some point in time or the other have said something they later regretted. This is why it is very important to convey respect even when you disagree with someone. It is impossible to agree with everybody at every point in time due to divergent opinions, perspectives and views. However, disagreement does not have to come with disrespect.  The use of appropriate respectful language goes a long way in helping you stay calm during a confrontation. Phrases such as:

  • I have always valued your judgement and opinions
  • I am listening to your thoughts and I am having a hard time getting myself comfortable moving in that direction
  • I think we are having a difference of opinion

Be accountable Ultimately during confrontations, you want to build bridges and not burn them. If you do lose your temper, take responsibility for your behavior and make amends. Acknowledge other perspectives and be more open to accommodating dissenting views. You cannot change what has happened, but you can make a choice to reach out to others, interact with them and demonstrate more commitment as well as constructive engagement.

If you put all of the strategies above into practice, it will strengthen your relationships at work, and at home. It will also help you remember both as an individual and a leader that you need to be humble, careful and attentive when it comes to interacting with others.