Essential, Now More Than Ever

Since October last year, close to 300,000 Canadians have lost their jobs and it's predicted that number will grow as the months pass. In times of economic uncertainty, those tasked with running organizations often behave in very predictable ways:

• Decision making is limited to a handful of people at the most senior levels of the organization.
• Spending on marketing, advertising and branding is cut back, sometimes to nothing.
• Funds for training and development are frozen.
• Expenses are cut. If it's not essential, it's not approved.

Much of this behaviour comes as a result of people operating from fear and uncertainty. When people are in this space, conflict and difficult conversations are sure to follow. It's hard not to fall back into ingrained patterns of behaviour when under stress but it's even more important to use the skills and techniques you've learned from Common Outlooks' programs.

Some reminders:

• Loud feelings cover soft ones. We share only loud emotions
• We don’t explore our emotional comfort zones
• We translate feelings into attributions, e.g. I’m hurt = You are mean.
• Our family history has a significant impact – and we forget this point
• Listen carefully: inquire to be sure you understand what the other person means
• If the other person is angry, let them vent and then acknowledge their feelings
• Once the emotions subside, consider empathizing with them

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This article was written by Helen Latimer.

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