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▼ BROWSE ISSUES ▼
Issue 53

How to blow up a conversation before it even begins

Adrian Vîntu
Coach în Leadership și Inteligență Emoțională @ self employed
OTHERS

You have probably attended classes or you have probably read books on interpersonal communication. I would like to present the means in which a conversation can be sabotaged before it even begins, fact which I have learnt from the IT field.

Definition

Before going in depth, I would like to give a definition of conflict: The conflict is a discussion replete with negative feelings. This sounds simple and easily avoidable, but if this were so, everyone would entertain in quality conversations.

What we can do is change negative feelings into positive or neutral ones.

As we all know, feelings and emotion can be contagious. If you enter dialogue with an attitude that is filled with stress, discontent, arrogance etc., the situation will instantly become a conflict.

Befriend stress

Why should you be relaxed when beginning a conversation with your colleague or your employee? There has just been a drama, the first in the world and in the company. You have every reason to feel stressed.

It is well known that stress, the 21st century epidemic, is taken for a joke in Romania. It seems that the incredible sums of money lost by a company do not impress the bosses, but they admit that neither the employees whose mental, emotional, behavioral and interpersonal health is severely affected, nor the employers stress about this subject.

Irony aside: By far, the number one reason for which the IT staff comes to me for coaching is the stress they feel at work and the devastating effects it has in all aspects of their life.

The question arises: If you are an IT person in Romania's Silicon Valley - so you have many job offers - why should you work for a company which doesn't offer you valuable conditions, programs and education meant to alleviate stress?

Or should you choose your parents' archaic beliefs and work for a boss who is "tough but fair"? Or maybe you are that boss yourself …

Look towards the future

Living in the present is for beginners. You have a vision, a mission, you "must" guess your customers' desires, you must "foresee" the project's success, etc. .

Only weak people focus on living in the present. Why should you care about the feelings, the thoughts, and the opinions of your peer or employee? We are professionals, we work as robots do, and everything is done for our country and for our great leader. We give no attention to the people who are our equals or who are lower than ourselves.

Why should you bond with colleagues, why should you understand their values, their experiences, their life's dramas, their opinions? The only thing you know is give them orders and show them that they are wrong non-stop. This, also, can be seen as a relationship, one which you have probably learned in your family!

State your opinion

This is what conversations are for, so that you can speak your opinion and show yourself as best as you can.

Why should you listen to others? You are in a hurry, you are stressed. You tackle several things at once. You do not have time for empathy, for active listening, for putting yourself in the other person's shoes and watching the world through their eyes.

Even worse: If you had to be a good communicator, to be emphatic and listen to your colleagues without being judgmental, you should first sit alone and listen to your thoughts and emotions. Who is mad enough to sit alone with their thoughts? Who takes long, regular breaks? Only lazy people sit and think - we work!

Irony aside: This very well explains why many people treat their customers badly. Of course, they will blame the customers/employees who leave and not themselves.

What does it mean to have a positive attitude?

For real, what does positive psychology and all those other things mean? You are a serious person. You know exactly how interpersonal relations "must" work. Why shouldn't you know since you learned it at home, at school and from TV?

What does the 5:1 ratio mean for relations? It doesn't matter. It has nothing to do with work. You are a professional!

Do not forget: Show your stress, your exhaustion, your anger, your superiority - this is what shows that you care, that you are different, that you are worth that promotion, that bonus etc. . You are not like all the other people who enjoy life, smile, and laugh or feel good at work. These should be kicked out.

It's ok, you are not the only one who thinks this way. My project manager thought that way too. Before…

Psychology in IT

I could very well continue with tens of pages about how the staff in IT abuse each other, how they kill their creativity, their passion for IT, their trust, their emotional and mental health.

However, the most important thing is that the 9-hour daily abuse is brought to their family life as well. On the one hand, people tell their children: "I am not here with you, so that you can have what I didn't have". On the other hand, people deprive their children exactly of what they need the most: time spent together and quality psychological education.

What you can do

Abusers never feel guilty or responsible for the things they do, and many actually enjoy this role. They are cursed to hurt the people that are "most dear". They declare their love and everything is kept at a declarative level, because after a 9-hour daily abuse that they imprint on their employees and colleagues, the next in line to suffer is the family!

As non-abuser, I can recommend that you talk to someone, someone who learned something different from what you have learned. You are a specialist in an IT area. Therefore, you understand that, when you have a problem outside your area of expertise, you should consult a specialist in auto mechanics, nutrition, and the stock etc.

It is ironic that we all need a specialist in plumbing, but when it comes to a dentist or a coach, we turn to them as a last resort, when the damage is already done.

Therefore, don't wait for something negative to happen. I care about my clients, but I can't stop thinking that they would have been better off if they had come to me earlier, much earlier.

Stress, burnout, deficient communication in relations - at your job or at the workplace, a lack of life purpose - these are all things for which top psychology has all the answers. You are not the only one who has been to such situations; you are not the only one who has asked hard questions. There are talented people who can give you very useful information in a short period of time. You simply need to raise your hand and speak!

I wish you an excellent, life-long, continuous education, alongside the exceptional people that you will meet!

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