“Gateways to Inclusion: Turning Tense Moments Into Productive Conversations”

Diversity-Related Tension

Having looked at this video, how else might Rick – the young man — have reacted to what his boss said and still been true to his value of honesty?

We can’t help but admire Rick’s desire to be honest. The problem isn’t his telling the truth about how he felt; it is, instead, how he told that truth. Embarrassing someone is never a good idea. All embarrassment accomplishes is create resistance to your message.

Rick would have been more successful had he practiced the first of the four strategies depicted in the “Gateways to Inclusion” video:  Manage his emotion.  Managing emotion is never easy, but there are three techniques we can use to facilitate the process.

First, walk away for a moment. Go sit someplace quietly or grab a cup of coffee. Even that little bit of a break can work wonders when it comes to managing your emotion and, in turn, achieving productive conversations.

Second, ask yourself, “What am I really feeling?” It’s amazing how naming an emotion has an almost magical ability to both reduce the intensity of the feeling and give you the power to manage it more effectively.

Third, ask yourself, “How might what I’m feeling influence how I approach the other person and is that approach the best way to achieve my desired result?” In other words, does your emotion increase or decrease the chances of your turning the tension into a productive conversation?

Of course, none of  these approaches will make your emotion disappear altogether, nor should it; after all, you have a right to feel as you do. The idea here is, not to kill the feeling, but to manage that feeling in a way that will empower you to have an effective conversation and, in turn, a better working relationship.

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