[MUSIC] When my kids were little, they had a recording from their favorite storyteller, Bill Harley, that we listened to over and over. And in one story there is a character who begins nearly every sentence with no offense. But my kids thought it was hilarious. And with good reason, when someone says no offense, you know the next words out of their mouth are going to offend. You have learned so far to listen to the other person and to be assertive so that they listen to you as well. Let's learn to prevent escalation and to de escalate if needed. There are words and phrases we use that put up walls between us and the other person at a minimum, and may even escalate what could have been a task conflict to Affective Conflict. Here are some phrases that can quickly and unintentionally move a task conflict to affective conflict. Don't take this personally, nearly always means you're about to say something personal. Characterizing and assuming another person's intentions and feelings, just like in the eye message escalate. You are rude or even you are unethical or you are a liar. Frankly, if someone does something that you believe is unethical or they lie to you, avoid labeling them, focus on the behavior, not the person. Say that their action is unethical, their words are not accurate. These are some commonly used questions and statements starters that can exacerbate a conflict. Why did you? What makes you think? Avoid these frames, as soon as you put why and you at the start of a question your listener puts up a wall, they are ready to defend themselves. And nothing is never or always. Here are some ways of phrasing your questions and requests that are more likely to net a positive response not guaranteed, but more likely. What led you to, help me understand? Would you be willing? Would you consider? How about we? I need you to, or the team needs you to. When someone uses frames or hot button words with you, focus on content, not delivery. Remember, the other person did not take this course, when others say to you, no offense or why did you do that, ask questions to get to what they really want to know. What was it that you said or you did that they're trying to tell you is not working? Another way to prevent a task conflict from becoming an affective conflict is to explore more about their concern and yours. What is being left unsaid that might be supporting the escalation? In the exploration, ensure you're asking questions designed to deepen or broaden everyone's understanding. Not questions designed to get the other person to agree with you or come to your conclusion. If the conflict has escalated despite your best efforts, I recommend doing all you can to maintain your own composure. Do not tell another person to calm down, they will likely feel patronized if you insinuate that they are not behaving in a way you believe is appropriate. When we can keep our own composure, often the other person will calm. It is possible they'll stay emotional, but I promise you, if you also become emotional, they absolutely will not calm. I'm not suggesting you mask all emotions, you can come across as uncaring and uninvolved. I am saying, do not engage in escalating behaviors like screaming or yelling or eye rolling or sneering, and absolutely never get into a physical altercation with someone from work. Some of the corporate leaders I have coached, say that they leave their emotions at the office door and their employees should do so too. Well, no, you don't want your employees leaving their emotions at the door. Ambition, competitive spirit, passion and pride can drive persistence. Frustration with current product drives, innovation to new products. Affection for our colleagues leads us to want to help them when they struggle. Dissatisfaction with the status quo leads us to implement important change initiatives. Emotions can be harnessed to solve problems, create and maintain team identity and push organizations forward. Don't ask yourself or your employees to leave emotions at the door, they're valuable. When you're interacting during a conflict, be sure to continually express positive intentions toward the other person. You don't have to keep saying it, your body language, your vocal tone and facial expressions can present what's in front of your mind. So keep reminding yourself that the person with whom you're in conflict is competent and you have confidence that you can work through whatever the challenges together. By the way, this is one reason why it's not a good idea to handle a conflict via email. The other person is likely to hear negative intentions and emotions when they read about a conflict on a cold, hard screen. Walk down the hall, pick up the phone or ask them to meet you on a video call. Lastly, take a break if needed, if you cannot maintain composure and you're worried that you'll say something that escalates the conflict ask to meet back after you've cooled down, don't drop it. Put a time in your calendar to face the conflict head on. Prevent escalation as much as possible and de escalate if needed. If the conflict has become a physical confrontation or you are in any danger, seek help or walk away. These are the three keys to conflict resolution, active listening, assertive speaking and preventing escalation or de escalating.