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10 actions I can take to stay centered at work during heated team discussions

Today at work we had a heated team discussion about internal initiatives. There was a lot of head-butting, and the experience was quite frustrating (if also fruitful at times). I'm happy we had our conversation because we saw some good results, and maybe fruitful discussions require a bit of back-and-forth and discomfort, but I'd like to minimize some of the pervasive... irritation we experienced today. Here's a quick list of a few mitigating measures.

    1. Take deep breaths

    I want this to be my go-to. When we experience stress, it often has immediate physical effects. By taking deep breaths and regulating my breathing, I hope to nip stress in the bud.

    2. Pause. Don't be too eager to talk and react. Instead, stay quiet for a bit, collect my thoughts, and formulate a coherent idea.

    Instead of reacting emotionally and potentially word-vomiting, I should take my time. There's no rush.

    3. Be charitable and attribute good intentions to my colleagues.

    This just makes life easier and more pleasant for everyone.

    4. Try really hard to see things from other peoples' perspectives.

    My colleagues are smart people, so they must be saying things that have merit and make sense. Even (or especially) if there's confusion or miscommunication, I need to try to figure out the point they're trying to get across.

    5. Try to find a balance between being overly considerate and overly frank.

    I feel like I tend towards extremes here, when I should be aiming for some middle ground.

    6. Don't consider my colleagues as enemies. Actively remind myself that we're working towards a shared goal.

    This can be hard to do in the moment when the tone and general vibe of the conversation has degenerated, but it's super important.

    7. Remind my colleagues (actively or discreetly) of our shared "rules of engagement" and goals.

    Until now a lot of my list items have been focused on actions I can take myself and ways I can change my own attitude. Here's an item that I can do to try to propel change externally.

    8. After the interaction, talk out my feelings and frustrations.

    I always find debriefing so helpful.

    9. If needed, talk to other colleagues who are removed from the situation to seek advice or resources.

    An outside perspective can be really helpful with providing new approaches to problem-solving or root cause analysis.

    10. Seek out an intermediary (person) to affirm that our conversation is productive and on the right track.

    A person whose role it is to ensure the conversation stays on track could add a lot of value.

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