You’re In Charge. It’s Your idea. What’s the Problem (With Everyone Else)?
Our personal and professional relationships are sometimes less than supportive and convinced of our ideas. For some of us, adversity is more of a daily occurrence than a once-in-a-while situation. When you are in a position of authority, it is the moment of crisis that can be the most difficult (and important) time to communicate your ideas.
We see examples of crisis situations whenever prominent people or major organizations announce a change in their financial commitments or support. Usually the change is perceived as negative to the public, and then a horrendous backlash ensues. The individual’s or organization’s actions further feed the negative reactions, and then have to be managed by consultants or public relations experts.
When you are in a position of authority in your family or in your company, it is important that you know how to communicate your ideas and solutions during uncertain times. Understanding your role and the influence that role carries with and over others is imperative to the outcome of the situation. You can directly affect how well your idea will be acknowledged and then followed.
Here are a few approaches to keep in mind to communicate your ideas and solutions during difficult and stressful times:
1. You are a “regular person”, too. Yes, you are in a position of authority because of your expertise, experience, initiative, enterprise, longevity, or birth order. Yet you are a “regular person” with your own personal thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Not only does this help you to understand how others may feel about the situation and your ideas, it also guides you in formulating the best words and actions to spur your team to action. If your authority position makes you responsible for public safety, health or security, then your situations can be especially demanding. In this case, communication for your ideas should be – and is expected to be – abrupt, pointed, and geared toward effecting quick and safe action.
2. Don’t make matters worse. Everyone is on alert in a crisis situation. All of your emotions and reactions may be “off the scale”. It is for this reason that you must avoid taunting, teasing, and tempting others, as well as making inappropriate comments and actions. There is no place for sarcasm and exaggeration when you communicate. Tense situations call for a calming presence, and your ideas must resolve and reassure.
3. Manage your anger. In stressful situations, it is easy to let anger rule your tongue. The downside to expressing that anger is that your people become less willing to help you implement an idea, or even listen to it in the first place. Work to immediately calm yourself down and step away from the situation (figuratively and/or physically) even if just for a few moments. Then be rational and assess your situation realistically, without the exaggerated feelings and reactions that anger can manifest. Before you speak, make sure you give yourself time to slow down, listen, and think through a response before communicating it. Finally, clearly articulate your ideas and how you want them acted upon.
Following these suggestions in a crisis will help you assert your ideas in difficult or crisis times. You will also garner the support of those around you who are instrumental in helping to resolve the situation and possibly ensure that your ideas become standard operating procedures for avoiding the next crisis situation.
Sylvia Henderson is a Charter Member & Community Reporter with the Village Connector Community News. She is also an Interpersonal skills & personal branding expert. She helps people SHOW they’re as great as they say they are. Sylvia hosts a cable TV program focusing on business & professional development called “Think About It!”. See: ThinkAboutIt.TV for air times. Sign up for monthly content and bring Sylvia to your organization at: SpringboardTraining.com or visit her Blog at: http://blog.springboardtraining.com.