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The Psychology Of Conflict

August 17, 2018

Jennifer Miraglia CEO of JM Consulting Group

What Do You Immediately Notice?

July 4, 2018
Jennifer Miraglia, CEO of JM Consulting Group

​Have you ever looked at someone and within seconds formed a lasting first impression? 

A first impression, which at the time seems justified, impacts how you interact with that person now and in the future.
It happens all the time. However, in many cases the first impressions we make are wrong.

Brain research reveals we are hard-wired to take in lots of information and quickly figure out how to process it all into something that makes sense to us. Our brains are pulling on past experiences we have had, as well as, the similarities and differences that we know of, creating that “first impression” we have of someone. It’s a process many of us call “thin-slicing.”

So, let me ask you two questions:
1)   What do you immediately notice about a person when you first interact with him or her?  
2)   How does what you immediately notice about that person impact your first impression?

Your answers to these two questions will reveal that our first impressions are primarily based on one part of someone (the part you see) and within seconds we have formulated a first impression about how we will behave around them.

So let’s break this down a bit…

What is it that is visible to us?   In many cases it can be someone’s physical attributes, race, gender, disabilities, ethnicity, age, dress and religion. However, is that the whole person? No.

What about what is invisible to us?  Such as work/life experiences, skills, values, work style, and the person’s character/personality? Shouldn't these invisible factors trump everything else?

So why is it we allow our first impressions of someone to become who that person is and how we behave around them? 

Think about the implications of this on:
·      Finding and retaining the best talent
·      Having motivated and engaged employees
·      Meeting or exceeding business goals
·      Excelling beyond the competition

What to do?

·      When you feel yourself formulating a quick evaluation of a person simply by what you immediately notice, take the time to PAUSE and be CURIOUS.
·      Inquire. Ask questions. 
·      Learn more about the whole person before you decide how you will behave and interact.

Remember, we are also the person others are making a first impression about. Wouldn’t you want the same opportunity to show others the full you?

  • 15:46

Are You Having That Difficult Conversation?

February 8, 2018

Jennifer Miraglia, CEO of JM Consulting Group

You know, the time when your heart starts beating fast, your mouth gets dry, your thoughts get flooded with so much emotion you don’t know how to think? 
A recent President once said, “sometimes when people are under stress, they hate to think, and it's the time when they most need to think.”
Funny, though, how in the midst of emotion, our logic and best sense of self is nowhere to be found.
The easiest way to put this in perspective is to think about how humans are hardwired to survive. Our brain, most simply stated, is comprised of three layers:
Neo-cortex - which governs logical and rationale thinking. A place we all would love to live and breath everyday
Limbic – which governs our feelings / emotions
Reptilian – which governs our “fight” or “flight” response
What is interesting about this is what happens when our feelings / emotions supersede logic.
Any guesses, where we might slip?
Yes, that is correct, straight into the hands of our reptilian state, which means we have become emotionally hijacked and we are no longer in a problem solving state.
Emotionally hijacked!? That doesn’t sound so good does it?
So the question becomes why? What was the emotional trigger that caused us to slip into the most primitive part of our brain?
Let’s break this down a bit. 
When emotions supersede logic, we fall into a fight or flight response. We have left the neo-cortex (the ability to be our best and think logically as well as rationally).
Without knowing any better, many of us think we are still in a problem-solving place. However, the true “fight” or “flight” responses have emerged instead.
When we “FIGHT,” in a work context, we become aggressive, where “my needs count and yours don’t.” Typical behaviors in this "fight" response include: controlling, labeling, criticizing, arguing, blaming, interrupting, being sarcastic, ridiculing, and judging.
When we “FLEE,” in a work context, we become non-assertive, where “your needs count and mine don’t.” Typical behaviors in this "flee" response include: withdrawing, masking true feelings, becoming silent, agreeing, inwardly judging, and retreating.
How does this sound to you? Not so good. In either case, both individuals are operating from a place of survival where no true collaborative problem solving can occur. 
So, the question becomes how can we learn to PAUSE and not get emotionally hijacked? 
It boils down to this:
1)    Understand your triggers
Become aware of what your triggers are that cause you to become emotionally hijacked. Don’t skip this process when trying to have a difficult conversation. You need this vital piece of information to help you have the best type of conversation and learn ways to prevent yourself from becoming emotionally hijacked in the first place!

2)    Let the other person speak first (inquire)
In an emotional state we want to feel heard. If you allow the other person to speak first it gives them the “air time” to share what is on their mind and shows your willingness to listen and “let go” temporarily of what is on your mind.
By doing so, you have diffused emotion. The key though is to make sure…

3)    The other person feels heard and acknowledged for their perspective
You don't have to agree with them. Just listen by clarifying what you are hearing, acknowledging their feelings, probing to dig deeper to understand the real concerns, and summarizing so the person knows you have truly listened to them and understand their perspective.
It is only then, after mutual understanding has taken place, that it’s…

4)    Your turn to speak (advocate)
If you have done a good job at summarizing the other person’s perspective you have gotten to the point where if you ask “May I share my perspective on this as well?” they are much more likely to hear your perspective and be open to problem solving.
The magic here is demonstrating “assertive skills” where “my needs count” and “your needs count.” This involves “inquiring” coupled with listening skills first and “advocating” second. As a result, both of you feel heard and emotions dissipate and now you both can get back to your neo-cortex and problem solve.

As by definition, since conflict “is any situation in which your concerns or desires differ from those of another person and appear to be incompatible,” let’s welcome a chance to practice this everyday!