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Clearing A Deadlock

March 11, 2013

We’ve all been there.

You’re debating a difficult issue and each person starts to dig in.  Positions become more extreme.  Emotions start to surface, tempers may flare.  It occurs to you, maybe not for the first time, that the other person is an idiot.

And you realize that you’re each now more focused on winning than finding the solution.

106You’re deadlocked, but you really need a solution.

What can you do?

Here’s an approach that has worked well for other leaders, it may also work for you.

Shift your focus from winning to being very clear. Be as succinct, specific and relatable as you can; speaking for the other person’s benefit rather than your own.

This does two things for you.

It requires you to crystalize your thinking, and it helps you communicate in a way that can be heard when emotions are running high.

Then, focus on helping the other person communicate very clearly. Restate what you’re hearing them say, ask if you got it right.  Don’t give your response until you do.

This does two things for them.

It helps them crystallize their thinking and it helps them start listening to you again.

Why?  Because we become more open to hearing others once we know we’ve been heard.

As the points you make become clearer, and as you both begin actively listening to them, you do more than open yourself up to new insights.  You also build the trust and rapport needed to begin to move forward again.

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