I was talking to a mentor recently about wanting to find a way to override my default behavior during confrontations. My default behavior is to retreat, recoup and try again later. This is not the best response in all cases and I’m tempted to say most cases. Particularly, when you are in an environment undergoing rapid change where resources and timelines are tight.
In others, such high-pressure (and usually highly-visible) situations usually results in a default behavior of “fight back and argue till you convince them”. That is not always the correct response either.
So, the question is how can we override our default response and choose the behavior most appropriate to the situation?
This HBR article offers great advice on how to do just that. Here’s the highlights:
- Know your defaults: Make a list of the frequent “moments of truth” that populate your workday: the meetings, conversations, negotiations, conflicts, and other situations when your behavioral performance is of paramount importance. Identify your default behavior in each situation.
- Anticipate and plan your overrides: Once you know your defaults, you can give yourself greater control by anticipating and planning ahead before these challenging moments of truth arise. Research shows that if you prepare and plan behaviors in advance and mentally rehearse them, you are 2-3 times more likely to succeed in carrying out your plan.
- Design your days: Because self-control varies across a day and a workweek, it makes sense to track it and even plan your schedule around it. Why schedule high-conflict conversations before lunch, at the end of the day, or at the end of a tough week when your self-control is likely to be low?
I hope this was helpful. Read the complete article here.