Answer Two Questions to Spark Empathy and Clarity

Power struggles can feel inevitable. Two beliefs can be at the bottom of this:

  1. Mine is the best approach (and everything would be better if people just did what I said)
  2. There is no way that both parties can get what they want, so someone is going to have to give way (lose) — and I need to make sure it’s not me

Since we already know that moods are contagious, these mindsets set people up to resist you — perhaps even when they didn’t originally intend to.

When you know that issues can develop:

  1. Take a breath to calm your brain and body (inhaling for a certain number of beats and exhaling for twice as many)
  2. Spend a few minutes answering these two questions

If you have a history of contentious conversations, it may take a while to get others to see you really have goodwill. That you really do understand their perspective and will respect it. That you will consistently look for ways to help them get what they want, too.

Once people understand this — by seeing you walk the talk — you’ll end up having fewer power struggles. And others may pick up on what you’re modeling and return the favor to you.

Imagine how much better that will feel!