Prioritising should take into account your goals and objectives. Carmen Pérez Pies, National Chairperson of European Management Assistants, Germany advises: ‘Constant communication and updates with your boss is imperative so that you can align your priorities to match theirs.’
Stress is what we feel when we cannot cope with pressure. It can cause damage to your health and your relationships both at work and at home. Having controlled pressure, in contrast, helps to raise adrenaline levels, gets your brain working and gives you energy.
To deal with conflict, think through the reaction you want to give, take time to review the situation, try to put your emotions to the side and consider the outcome you desire. If, for example, you are about to send an angry e-mail reply to someone, then you should stop and think about picking up the phone and asking for a meeting with the person concerned. You should decide on a mutually convenient time, date and location. The meeting place should be in a neutral, private place, not in your office or in the other person’s as this gives a psychological advantage.
You have to remember that you cannot fundamentally change people, though you can influence them to change their behaviours (and to do this you have to constantly communicate with them and feed back to them). You can, however, change yourself, and using affirmations is one way to do this. We use affirmations because our brains will respond to whatever we tell them. The affirmations go into our subconscious part of the brain where our deep-seated beliefs are kept.
Empathising and putting yourself in other people’s shoes is to be recommended. However, you have to be careful that you do not neglect your own needs and feelings if you empathise too much, as this can lead to your becoming passive or timid.
Difficult people are not born difficult; they create and learn how to express these attitudes and behaviours, and because they are ‘learned’ behaviours we can influence them to have better ones. Separating the behaviour from the person is the key to a successful working relationship.
You should think carefully about what you want to say and how you want it to come across. You need to keep your communication simple and concise, getting to the point whether you are communicating by e-mail, telephone, or face-to-face meetings. However, you must take care not to be perceived as aggressive when being concise, especially in e-mails. As a rule you should never enter into conflict situations when using e-mail.
Reframing the problem will trigger the mind to be creative and to think/do something different. Use the ‘wonderful if’ phrase: ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if…’ Use imagination and dreams to come up with many ‘off the wall’ ideas to help your creativity and then something sensible will come out of it. When dealing with conflict situations, there are certain words that would serve better than others in getting your point and feelings across.
You need to set boundaries and let other people know what these are. Some people are selfish or thoughtless and disregard your boundaries.