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Poise Under Pressure


May. 10, 2016 M46 Project

Think about the answers to the following questions:

  • What is it about that person that pushes your buttons so easily?
  • When we push each others’ buttons, why do we resort to WWE “No Holds Barred” rules for our ‘intense fellowships’ (aka…arguments)?
  • Whose responsibility is it to keep their poise, resolve the conflict and make things right?

As we talk about relationships, and being leaders in our homes and community, let’s focus on the issues reflected in the last question: accountability and poise. Notice what you hear good coaches’ say after the team loses a game. Usually the good coaches say, “I’ve got to do a better job coaching, and preparing my team to win.” Or, if a player made a mistake or missed the game winning kick you may hear, “The game wasn’t lost on that play. We could have done more to keep ourselves out of the situation.”

Even in an emotionally charged environment, the most important thing a leader can do is to keep their poise and take ownership of his role in an argument. Regardless of how big or small their part of it is. Even though the coach didn’t throw the ball, drop the pass, or miss the kick, he will still take the responsibility for the outcome. Recently retired New York Giants Coach, Tom Coughlin said it this way, “When we win…the team wins. When we lose…I lost the game for my team.”

Keeping Your Cool

Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.”

Great leaders have the capacity to stay under control emotionally to be able to guide a conversation to resolution. They don’t allow the situation or the emotions of those around them to dictate their response.

I like what Colon Powell said about this,

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

If you want to be more effective in guiding conversations in conflict, we must understand some basic keys to allow us to stay under control, and lead effectively.

This week let’s focus on 4 keys to keeping your poise under pressure which can help you build a deeper bond with those you love.

Here are 4 Keys to keeping your poise:

  1. Remember how much they mean to you. Remember who you are talking to. In the heat of the moment things can be said or done that can really damage a relationship. Take a moment and think about how much that person means to you before you begin the conversation.
  2. Know your tendency. People tend to fall into two categories in confrontation: confronters or avoiders. Both “types” have advantages and major disadvantages. If you tend to be a confronter, remember that you don’t have the right to be a bulldozer. And if your tendency is to avoid confrontation, remember that as a leader you need to be able to address issues in a timely manner. Avoiding a problem doesn’t make it go away.
  3. Own your part. 99% of all issues involves more than one person. It doesn’t matter how much or how little your role was…OWN IT! Find something to own in the conversation, “I wasn’t clear in sharing this…”, “I avoided this…”, or “I didn’t nip this in the bud in the beginning.” Realize that if a person feel it is 100% their problem, it will tend to cause people to push back and get defensive.
  4. Listen for what isn’t said. Everyone needs to know you care about their feelings. In the heat of the moment, listen not only for what they are saying, but also for what they are feeling. If you connect to their emotion, you will connect with them.
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