Last time, we talked about a tip for situations when you have a difficult meeting coming up. Here’s another tip I’ve found useful.
Tip 2: Figure out what you really want
Sometimes we find ourselves with counter-productive thoughts in the lead-up to a discussion: “I just want him to admit that he’s wrong”, “These people don’t know what they’re talking about!”
It’s helpful to think what you really want, in grand scheme of things. Do you really want so-and-so to publically grovel at your feet? That’s how it might feel in the heat of the moment, but if you thought about your long-term goals it would probably be more like, “I want the team to move forward with solutions that will be good for the business”. There’s nothing in there about scoring points. Instead there’s a much more worthy and noble cause.
Thinking about these more worthy long-term goals can often help us to focus on what we really want, not what our tempers or emotions happen to be distracting us with today. Having focussed on what we really want, we’re more likely to conduct ourselves in ways consistent with achieving it.
I don’t have much more to say about this, because the book Crucial Conversations says it so much better than I can. The chapter is called “Start with Heart: How to stay focussed on what you really want”. Like so much of that book, the advice is extremely useful at home as well as at work.