In a tough situation at work that I faced recently, I got a great piece of advice from my boss. He said "Take the highest road possible." As he gave me a few practical steps, I really felt dumb for not thinking of it earlier. How many times are we faced with sticky situations where a good response is critical? Here are 6 keys for taking the highest road possible in your next tough situation.
- Think before you speak. Get a gameplan for responding to a tough situation if possible. Get wise counsel from someone with an outside perspective. Let it sit for 18-24 hours if possible.
- Don't be defensive. This is tough, but with practice you can train yourself to hear differing opinions without jumping in to defend your point of view. Consider it a chance to hear from another person's perspective and learn from it. You may still disagree, but you gain a lot by listening instead of defending.
- Don't bash the other guy. No matter who is right or wrong, it doesn't pay to badmouth the other party....ever... either to their face or behind their back.
- Picture the ideal ending. Think of the best possible solution and work towards that. Don't assume that you have to compromise something important. Sometimes there are solutions that can allow everybody to win. But it takes thinking and working towards that end.
- Look out for the other guy. When folks can see that you are looking out for their interests it goes a long way towards resolution. This connects well with pursuing the ideal ending ... if you seek to understand the other guy's perspective, it can help diffuse the tension of a situation and possibly lead to a win-win.
- Smile. This simple gesture can make any situation lighter. It can help you relax and help the other party see that you really are a human. Instead of approaching a tough situation with a scowl, approach it with a smile. HINT: it works just as well for phone calls as it does in person. Try it!