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Mental Health

Anger Management (7)

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Anger Management

By Akindotun Merino

Consensus means unanimous agreement on an area of contention. Arriving at a consensus is the ideal resolution of bargaining. If both parties can find a solution that is agreeable to both of them, then anger can be prevented or reduced.

The following are some tips on how to arrive at a consensus:

Focus on interests rather than positions. Surface the underlying value that makes people take the position they do. For example, the interest behind a request for a salary increase may be financial security. If you can communicate to the other party that you acknowledge this need, and will only offer a position that takes financial security into consideration, then a consensus is more likely to happen.

READ ALSO: Anger Management (5)

Explore options together. Consensus is more likely if both parties are actively involved in the solution-making process. This ensures that there is increased communication about each party’s positions. It also ensures that resistances are addressed.

Increase sameness / reduce differentiation. A consensus is more likely if you can emphasize all the things that you and the other party have in common, and minimize all the things that make you different. An increased empathy can make finding common interests easier. It may also reduce psychological barriers to compromising. An example of increasing sameness/ reducing differences is an employer and employee temporarily setting aside their position disparity and looking at the problem as two stakeholders in the same organization.

Identifying Solutions
Working on a problem involves the process of coming up with possible solutions. The following are some ways two parties in disagreement can identify solutions to their problem.

  • Brainstorm. Brainstorming is the process of coming up with as many ideas as you can in the shortest time possible. It makes use of diversity of personalities in a group, so that one can come up with the widest range of fresh ideas. Quantity of ideas is more important than quality of ideas in the initial stage of brainstorming; you can filter out the bad ones later on with an in-depth review of their pros and cons.
  • Hypothesize. Hypothesizing means coming up with ‘what if’ scenarios based on intelligent guesses. A solution can be made from imagining alternative set-ups, and studying these alternative set-ups against facts and known data.
  • You may also look for a solution in the past. If a solution has worked before, perhaps it may work again. Find similar problems and study how it was handled. You don’t have to follow a model to the letter; you are always free to tweak it to fit the nuances of the current problem.
  • Invent Options. If there has been no precedence for a problem, it’s time to exercise one’s creativity and think of new options. A way to go about this is to list down each party’s interests and come up with proposed solutions that have benefits for each party.
  • Survey. If the two parties can’t come up with a solution between the two of them, maybe it’s time to seek other people’s point of view. Survey people with interest or background in the issue in contention. Finding an expert is possible. Just remember though, at the end of the day the decision is still yours. Identify a solution based on facts, not on someone’s opinion.

READ ALSO: Anger Management

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology, CEO of Jars Group and Mental Health Commissioner in California. Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof. Akindotun Merino
info@akinmerino.com
YouTube.com/akinmerino
Instagram: @drakinmerino: Twitter: @drakindotun

 

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Mental Health

Anger Management (8)

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Anger Management

By Akindotun Merino
You’ve already picked a solution for your problem. Now it’s time to create a plan for its implementation.

The following are some guidelines when making a plan.

1. Keep your goal(s) central to your plan.

Every solution has a goal. The goal is the specific and measurable change that you want to achieve by implementing your solution. When you make a plan, make sure that all the steps and processes you outline are moving towards this goal.

2. Break down your action plan into concrete steps.

A good plan is concrete instead of abstract, specific instead of generic. Think of the different steps that you need to do in order to get to your ultimate goal and plan along those milestones. Note the deliverable per milestone. Indicate the timeline for each milestone. Identify the people responsible for each task.

 READ ALSO: Anger Management (7)

3. Note all the resources you would need.

There are two kinds of resources: human and material. Make a list of all human and material resources that you need to execute the action, and make sure that they are all available. If they are not available, add an extra action plan to procure them. You want to make sure that your plan is realistic given your resources.

4. Plan how the solution would be evaluated.
A good plan doesn’t just include the steps to execute the program. It should also include mechanisms for monitoring progress and evaluating results. An evaluation plan ensures that needs for plan revision can be surfaced.
An issue in contention will remain a hot issue unless the plan is implemented. It is only when concrete change can be observed that anger can be seriously addressed.

The following are some tips in implementing a solution.

Stick to your plan. Note the what, where, when and, who of your plan and follow it to the letter. This will keep your end of the bargain explicit and easy to monitor and evaluate. Deviating from the plan can result to additional anger, especially if you deviated in areas important to the other party.

Monitor progress and results. Keep track of whether or not your solution is accomplishing the goal. Make sure that you put everything on paper for ready reference later. Log down best practices, risks and obstacles encountered.

Reward and revise accordingly. If the solution is working, note progress and affirm the success. This gives the two parties a sense of accomplishment. More so, the next time they have a conflict, it can serve as testament to their ability to solve a problem.

If the solution is not working, gather feedback. Surface the reason why the solution does not seem to be working. Make the necessary changes so that you can revise the plan as needed.

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology, CEO of Jars Group and Mental Health Commissioner in California. Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof. Akindotun Merino
info@akinmerino.com
YouTube.com/akinmerino
Instagram: @drakinmerino: Twitter: @drakindotun

 

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Mental Health

Anger Management (6)

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Anger Management

By Akindotun Merino

The escalation of anger in ‘hot’ situations can be easily prevented, if a system for discussing contentious issues is in place. In this module, we will discuss how to work effectively on the problem. Specifically, we will tackle constructive disagreement, negotiation tips, building a consensus and identifying solutions.

There is nothing wrong with disagreement. No two people are completely similar, therefore it’s inevitable that they would disagree on at least one issue. There’s also nothing wrong in having a position and defending it.

READ ALSO: Anger Management (5)

To make the most of a disagreement, you have to keep it constructive. The following are some of the elements of a constructive disagreement:

  • Solution-focus. The disagreement aims to find a workable compromise at the end of the discussion.
  • Mutual Respect. Even if the two parties do not agree with one another, courtesy is always a priority.
  • Win-Win Solution. Constructive disagreement is not geared towards getting the “one-up” on the other person. The premium is always on finding a solution that has benefits for both parties.
  • Reasonable Concessions. More often than not, a win-win solution means you won’t get your way completely. Some degree of sacrifice is necessary to meet the other person halfway. In constructive disagreement, parties are open to making reasonable concessions for the negotiation to move forward.
  • Learning-Focus. Parties in constructive disagreement see conflicts as opportunities to get feedback on how well a system works, so that necessary changes can be made. They also see it as a challenge to be flexible and creative in coming up with solutions for everyone’s gain.

Negotiations are sometimes a necessary part of arriving at a solution. When two parties are in a disagreement, there has to be a process that would surfaces areas of bargaining. When a person is given the opportunity to present his side and argue for his or her interests, anger is less likely to escalate.

The following are some tips on negotiation during a conflict:

  1. Note situational factors that can influence the negotiation process. Context is an important element in the negotiation process. The location of the meeting, the physical arrangement of room, as well as the time the meeting is held can positively or negatively influence the participants’ ability to listen and discern. For example, negotiations held in a noisy auditorium immediately after a stressful day can make participants irritable and less likely to compromise.
  2. Prepare! Before entering a negotiating table, make your research. Stack up on facts to back up your position, and anticipate the other party’s position. Having the right information can make the negotiation process run faster and more efficiently.
  3. Communicate clearly and effectively. Make sure that you state your needs and interests in a way that is not open to misinterpretation. Speak in a calm and controlled manner. Present arguments without personalization. Remember, your position can only be appreciated if it’s perceived accurately.
  4. Focus on the process as well as the content. It’s important that you pay attention not just to the words you and the other party are saying, but also the manner the discussion is running. For example, was everyone able to speak their position adequately, or is there an individual who dominates the conversation? Are there implicit or explicit coercions happening? Does the other person’s non-verbal behavior show openness and objectivity? All these things influence result, and you want to make sure that you have the most productive negotiation process that you can.
  5. Keep an open-mind. Lastly, enter a negotiation situation with an open mind. Be willing to listen and carefully consider what the other person has to say. Anticipate the possibility that you may have to change your beliefs and assumptions. Make concessions.

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology, CEO of Jars Group and Mental Health Commissioner in California. Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof. Akindotun Merino
info@akinmerino.com
YouTube.com/akinmerino
Instagram: @drakinmerino: Twitter: @drakindotun

 

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Mental Health

Anger Management (5)

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Anger Management (5)

By Akindotun Merino
Anger is not just personal. It can be relational as well. When managing anger that involves other people, it helps to have a problem-oriented disposition, setting personal matters aside. This way the issue becomes an objective and workable issue.

One way to make sure that a discussion remains constructive is to use objective rather than subjective language.

Objective language involves stating your position using reference points that are observable, factual, and free from personal prejudices. Objective references do not change from person to person.

This is the opposite of subjective language, which is vague, biased, and or emotional. You are using subjective language when you are stating an opinion, assumption, belief, judgment, or rumor.

READ  ALSO: Anger Management (2)

The use of objective language keeps the discussion on neutral ground. It’s less threatening to a person’s self-esteem and therefore keeps people from being in the defensive. More importantly, objective language can be disputed and confirmed, which ensures that the discussion can go towards a solution.

Here are some guidelines in the use of objective vs. subjective language:

1. State behaviors instead of personality traits.
Subjective: You’re an inconsiderate supervisor.
Objective: You approved the rule without consulting with us first.

2. Avoid vague references to frequency. Instead, use the actual numbers.
Subjective: You are always late!
Objective: You were late for meetings four times in the past month.

3. Clarify terms that can mean differently to different people.
Subjective: You practice favoritism when you give promotions.
Objective: The employee ranking system is not being followed during promotions.

4. Don’t presume another person’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions.
Subjective: You hate me!
Objective: You do not talk to me when we are in a room together.

5. Don’t presume an action you did not see or hear.
Subjective: She stole my wallet.
Objective: The wallet was in my desk when I left. It was no longer there when I came back, and she was the only person who entered the room.

You can’t separate people from the problem if you don’t know what the problem is. A good way to move forward, in a discussion where anger is escalating, is through identifying the problem.

Identifying the problem focuses all energy on the crisis at hand rather than the persons involved in a conflict. The two parties focus their energies on a common enemy that is outside of themselves, a move that puts the two opposing parties back in neutral ground.

READ ALSO: Anger Management (3)

There are many processes you can use to identify the problem. Here is one of them:

STEP ONE: Get as much information as you can why the other party is upset.

STEP TWO: Surface the other person’s position. Reframe this position into a problem statement. Example: “I can hear how upset you are. Am I right in perceiving that the problem for you is that you weren’t informed of the account being sold?”

STEP THREE: Review your own position. State your position in a problem statement as well. Example: “The problem for me is that I don’t have the resources to contact you. The phone lines are not working because of the storm.”

STEP FOUR: Having heard both positions, define the problem in a mutually acceptable way. Example: “I hear that you’d like to be informed of any sales. On my part, I’d like to inform you, but for as long as the phone lines are dead, I can’t see how I would do it. I think the issue here is about finding an alternative way to get the information to you on time while the phones are being repaired. Do you agree?”

If the two parties agree to the problem statement, they can now both work at the surfaced problem and take the focus away from their emotions.

 READ ALSO: Anger Management (4)

Using “I” Messages
An “I-message” is a message that is focused on the speaker. When you use I-messages, you take responsibility for your own feelings instead of accusing the other person of making you feel a certain way. The opposite of an I-message is a You-message.

An “I-message” is composed of the following:

1.A description of the problem or issue.
Describe the person’s behavior you are reacting to in an objective, non-blameful, and non-judgmental manner.
“When … “

2.Its effect on you or the organization.
Describe the concrete or tangible effects of that behavior.
“The effects are … “
3. A suggestion for alternative behavior.
“I’d prefer … “
Here is an example of an I-message:

“When I have to wait outside the office an extra hour because you didn’t inform me that you’d be late (problem/issue), I become agitated (effect). I prefer for you to send me a message if you will not be able to make it (alternative behavior).”

The most important feature of I-messages is that they are neutral. There is no effort to threaten, argue, or blame in these statements. You avoid making the other person defensive, as the essence of an I-message is “I have a problem” instead of “You have a problem”. The speaker simply makes statements and takes full responsibility for his/her feelings.

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology, CEO of Jars Group and Mental Health Commissioner in California. Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof. Akindotun Merino
info@akinmerino.com
YouTube.com/akinmerino
Instagram: @drakinmerino: Twitter: @drakindotun

 

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