Disagreements and even arguments are a normal part of being human. In fact, if two people never disagree, it is pretty likely that one of them is hiding their true thoughts and feelings. However, regardless of if you are arguing with your boss, your coach, a teammate or your significant other, there are a few things you can say that will immediately turn the conversation into a defensive, no win situation. There are likely to be hurt feelings, grudges and the problem may go on for days, months or even years. Avoid these things and you will have a much greater chance of successfully developing a solution, implementing it and the issue being completed.
You make me…. (angry, mad, insane, etc)
No one makes you anything. You get to chose. By telling someone they make you feel a certain way you are giving them your power. If you are feeling something during a disagreement, own it. “I am angry.” No one can argue with how you feel. They can argue with you if they are trying to “make” you feel that way.
It is your fault….
Placing blame never accomplishes anything. Once there has been an accusation of blame the conversation will become a back and forth escalation about who is at fault rather than about the problem and how to solve it.
You are…. (stupid, lying, wrong)
A personal attack will immediately put the other person on the defensive and the discussion becomes win/lose. Instead try to keep the lines of communication open by controlling your side of the conversation. “My recollection of the facts is different.” ”That is not how I remember it.” “From my perspective….”
You should/shouldn’t have….
Things that happened in the past cannot be undone. Telling someone what they should or shouldn’t have done is looking backwards. Instead, look forward. “In the future I would like to see xyz handled differently.” Then talk about what you would like to see happen in the future.
You aren’t listening to me!
This is a statement that is almost guaranteed to be made in any heated disagreement. What is usually meant is “I am not feeling heard.” or “You are not seeing things my way.” It is very possible that someone is listening to you just fine and they disagree. It is also possible that you are not feeling heard. You will be much more successful if you can say something similar to, “I am not feeling heard. Can we take a minute and just let me make this point?”
Keep in mind that choosing the right words is only half the battle. You can derail a conversation by using all the right words but adding a tone, inflection or body language that doesn’t match. Having productive conflict takes effort but the outcome is so, so worth it.
What do people say in arguments that really pushes your buttons? Do you have things you say that you know will cause a conversation to spin out of control? Share them with us!
Check back next week to learn how the jerk in your life might be good for you.
Last week we talked about Changing Detrimental Team Norms. You can read it here if you missed it.
Tags :argue, arguement, Champion Performance Development, communication, conflict, conversation, disagree, disagreement, Doc Robyn, fight, good communication, good communicator, Robyn Odegaard, tough conversations