Creating Safety as Conversations Hit Previously Uncharted Waters

Up to now, we have learned what a crucial conversation looks like and the skills to contain the dialogue to the point where everyone has safety with a difficult subject. 

Now, we have the difficult subject to contend with, so what do we do to keep from going back to the same emotionally charged dialogue and unskilled strategies? 

Check back in on mutual purpose. 

  • If individuals have an agenda outside of the mutual purpose (the common ground that everyone shares), the battles overtake the war and resolution cannot be reached. 
  • At least one person in the conversation must understand this and have the skills to get all parties back by using those listening and speaking skills. 
  • Everyone must be willing to look at what they really want from the conversation and seek some common ground before moving forward to mutual purpose

Components of reaching mutual purpose: Mutual respect

Sometimes we have to step back from the hot conversation topic and move toward other areas where mutual respect is easier to maintain. Anger and defensiveness take over where mutual respect is lacking.  Sometimes, we are forced to find mutual respect on limited topics where overall respect has been damaged by events from the past

Steps to Building Mutual Respect

  • As appropriate, apologize for individual behavior
  • State clearly your desires, expectations and bottom lines
  • Search for common ground in pursuit of mutual purpose

Components of reaching mutual purpose: Prevent Emotions from Taking Over

  • Stay connected to logic and reason while being aware of emotions that are running strong
  • Maintain responsibility for your own emotions—no one makes you anything that you do not allow them to do
  • Connect emotions with experiences and the stories that you tell yourself about those experiences…often tied to what has happened in the past or you are afraid will happen in the future
  • Be aware of your own motives and tendencies to sabotage.  

Create safety for others as they will be pulled toward their own motives and tendencies to sabotage.