If you can survive the high days and holidays, you can survive anything. And it’s early January, so you did it.
Think about it. December was the end of a long year. You were tired. There were family politics to contend with, dinner table logistics, cheeky kids, rude shop assistants, bad service. Something. Somebody.
The festive season can be tough and overwhelming. But it can also be delightful. Like life. And as with most things, getting through it and making the most of it is about attitude.
Lemonade Hub has put together a survival toolkit that we believe can be applied to just about any gathering or negotiation that requires a little diplomacy and where one can benefit from applying good communication skills and a measure of self-control.
With a brand spanking new year ahead of us, we thought these three simple tips might help you get on track. Because if you think about it, the boardroom table and a festive dinner table are really not that different. Both involve people management, conflict management and trying to achieve a positive outcome.
Our ”psychological stocking fillers” for 2018
Tip #1 – Leave your ego at the door
Yes, you matter and yes, your opinion and feelings count, but in a group dynamic where stress and tension may feature (such as a festive dinner table or a board meeting, salary negotiations or a brainstorming session) we need to put our ego aside as much as possible. If everyone works towards putting their best foot forward and not making it, “all about me”, things are much more likely to end well for all concerned.
Tip #2 – Pick your battles
This involves that great balancing act between practising patience, but not being forced to suffer fools. And again, it often comes down to managing ego and using one’s judgement. If an old family friend (or whoever) is an obnoxious racist (or sexist, or homophobe, or whatever makes your blood boil) and you just can’t handle it anymore, we get it. But blowing up and calling them on it in front of everyone (while completely within your rights) is going to cast a pall over proceedings, like it or not. And it’s going to be embarrassing and upsetting.
Same goes for the boardroom. A fatuous co-worker is getting your goat and you are just champing the bit to call them on it. Don’t. Not right there anyway. It’s not the right place and it’s not the right time. Let it ride. Not forever, just in this setting. Breathe. State your opinion politely. And then after the fact, set aside time to write a civilised email, or to have a conversation in which you explain your point of view. Keep your head. Maintain your dignity. Remain well-mannered. As the brilliant American comedian George Carlin once quipped: “Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.”
Tip #3 – Be present and listen properly
We often become distracted or preoccupied in conversations with people. Even when we do pay some attention, we’re already formulating our comeback, or we’re so ready to voice our opinion and provide our two cents on the Bitcoin debate, the state of the nation or a friend’s messy divorce that we don’t actually listen, just listen, to what others are really saying.
If you practise really being in the moment and hearing others out, you show them respect – even the people you vehemently disagree with. Let them finish their sentence. Don’t interrupt. Respect is important. And if you are dealing with someone you do not deem worthy of your respect, tip #2 refers. Plus, you know what? You may actually learn something.
Happy 2018. Make it count.