After speaking with someone, consider what you leave in your emotional wake.
After speaking with someone, consider what you leave in your emotional wake. THINKSTOCK

Wellbeing: Think first for the consequences you intended

IMAGINE yourself walking into a room, having a conversation and walking out again. For most of us that's the extent of what we think the interaction is, we've gone in, got our message out and moved on.

In this busy world we have created that may happen many times a day, and if you have a responsible role where you have to manage people, multi-task and account for dollars and time that's what it needs to be about. Or does it?

What happens after you leave the room? In effect, what do you leave in your emotional wake?

Every conversation has a consequence, an impact on the other, as Susan Scott highlights in Fierce Conversations. Whether she has coined the term "emotional wake" or someone else has, it is a powerfully valid way of pausing to consider what you want out of any conversation - before you have it.

Often we can get so caught up in what's going on in our own head that we neglect to consider what's happening in someone else's. Everyone has pressure, everyone feels challenged, everyone wants to do the best they can with the resources that they have (think about that).

So what can we do to ensure that our emotional wake is an intended one and the consequences are desired?

It's easy to get people on the defensive. Simply criticise the quality of work, highlight their mistakes, limit their involvement in decisions or stop talking when they walk into the room. There are more ways certainly and you may have experienced them. Each assists in breaking the person down and is effectively bullying.

What's important to me is that we remember it's not what people do, it's what we think of what people do that creates the issue. Take a broader perspective than what's happening and reframe your thoughts, feelings and emotional first response to accommodate what may be happening for the other person.

In quoting Johann Von Goethe when he stated "treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of", we have the opportunity to create an emotional wake that builds people. That would be a legacy worth leaving, wouldn't it?

Nick Bennett is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned



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