Don't Ignore The Tension - Resolve It!
Tension. It’s often the tell-tale sign that something is wrong. However, in many small businesses tension is easy to ignore.
It might be tension with a large client, a vendor or even within your team. Everyone knows it’s there. Everyone can feel it. But it gets pushed to the side, for many different reasons. It might be concern or fear of making it worse. Or maybe you’re just too busy to address it. However, tension often builds when it isn’t addressed.
When ignored, tension either comes to a tipping point where things tend to blow up or it creates a passive aggressive environment. Neither are great scenarios. So today we want to discuss what to do with tension.
When discussing tension, we often ask our client to imagine two magnets in their hands. When trying to put those magnets together they will either repel or pull together. The repelling feeling is the tension. That’s often what it feels like to live with tension. This is often where people get stuck. They feel the tension and back away or expect the other person to change. The first step in dealing with tension is to remember that you can’t control anyone but yourself. If you’re looking for the other party in the situation to relieve the tension, you might be waiting a long time. It doesn’t matter how many times you approach the other magnet, until you turn it the other way you’ll run into that tension. This is a good reminder that when you feel tension it’s good to look at your own approach.
To deal with tension consider these insights:
- Address it sooner. Don’t let tension build. It’s harder to address it later down the road. The longer you push it off the harder it will be.
- Let go of right or wrong. Don’t try to assign blame. There will be times you need to focus on the past and what happened but try to stay focused on results. What needs to be different moving forward?
- Don’t see it as conflict. Addressing the tension shouldn’t be conflict. It should be a conversation. If you build it up to be a conflict, then chances are you’ll go into the conversation with your guard up.
- Be curious. Ask questions and try to baseline what is causing the tension. You may know – but you also may not know – how the other party sees the tension. It’s always good to ask questions and try to find the underlying cause of the tension.
- Be ready to solve problems. Tension often occurs because there is a problem. If you go into the conversation with a solutions-based mindset it’s easier to navigate the conversation. For a more in-depth look we recommend these Insights:
- Recontract. Lastly, once you’ve discovered what is causing the tension and how to resolve that issue it’s always good to recontract. To agree to how things will work in the future and what needs to be different. If both parties can’t recontract that will cause more tension down the road.