“When in doubt, love them more”, Glen Ochre.
This saying comes back to me time and time again, within my facilitation and in my life.
When faced with tricky behaviours – someone challenging our process, perhaps passionately disagreeing with what we are trying to do or say, or maybe verbally attacking someone in the group – what response do we have?
Do we buckle under the pressure and acquiesce, do we fight back, all guns blazing, or ride in on our white horse to save the day and protect?
None of these approaches are useful in the long run. They can damage relationships, affect the safety of the group and take us away from our purpose for gathering.
Glen’s quote is not about being ‘wussy’ or ‘bossy’, but about standing strong in who we are, what we believe in, as well as connecting to the individual who is being challenged and being challenging. It’s about seeing their behaviour as just a part of them, not the whole of them.
We can all get annoyed, frustrated, angry. And that shows we care and have passion. If we can love them when they are ‘behaving badly’ we are able to influence a better outcome for everyone.
So next time someone ‘plays up’ in your meeting, see if you can:
- Slow things down … “Let’s just pause here for a moment”
- Validate what they are trying to communicate (their emotion, not agreeing or disagreeing with what they are saying) … “Mary I can see what you are saying is really important to you, there is a lot of passion there, I’m keen to make sure we hear you”
- Give them an opportunity to have another go … “It’s also a little tricky to hear what you are saying when you are speaking loudly. Your energy makes sense, it’s a big topic we are talking about here. I’m wondering if you can give it another go so we can capture what you need us to hear?”
Genuinely caring for the ‘difficult person’ in the group, knowing they are just like us and mad about something they care about, can help us gather their wisdom, allow them to be truly heard and support the group to create better outcomes with all wisdom collected. We are keeping people safe and connected.
We can do this by using all our self awareness and microskills 😊