I’ve been doing some group coaching recently with a team of employees who work together and are having some issues with conflict management and interpersonal skills when dealing with each other. One of the things that we spend a lot of time on during our coaching is seeking out the positive aspects of the situations the group deals with as well as positive aspects of the individuals on the team.
As we all know, finding the positives in difficult situations is not easy but the rewards of doing that can make our lives so much more, well… positive! Dealing with difficult employes and colleagues tests everyone’s patience but, in my opinion, creates wonderful opportunity to relate to those individuals on a different level.
When you deal with difficult people (whether they work for you, with you, or are simply in your life), do you approach the situation from a neutral place or from a defensive place? Do you put your viewpoint aside to try to see their perspective? And do you approach the situation knowing that everyone, regardless of how they are portraying themselves, is trying to do the best they can in any given situation?
Consciously approaching difficult circumstances or individuals with this frame of mind will automatically balance out the situation (perhaps only for you but ultimately, that is all you can control). As you are interacting with these people, seek out their strengths and focus on their positive traits. Maybe you need to start small… perhaps you disagree with their attitude on a topic but think they are a smart person. So, focus on their intelligence first and then build from there. Other positives will begin to show themselves. Listen to what they say, seek out their strengths and build upon them. Marcus Buckingham wrote a great book called Go Put Your Strengths To Work which does just this – focuses on an individual’s strengths and the power of leveraging them. Too often, we tend to focus on what is wrong with a person or what is missing. By honing in on that, people can feel inadequate or like they are “not good enough”. This tends to put them on the defensive when, instead, if you seek out the positives and focus on those items, you will inevitably bring out the best in those individuals.
This is exactly what the team I am coaching is working on and it is having outstanding results for them. Why not give it a try? Today, tomorrow or, for the next week, seek out the positives in all the people you interact with and begin to focus on those aspects of the individual. The results might just surprise you!