No doubt about it, we Canadians are famous for saying, "I'm sorry!" Even in instances when it's not our fault (like the perfect stranger who bumps into us at the grocery store), we're inclined to be gracious and apologetic.
Interestingly enough, we often don't hold the same regard for our colleagues at work; in fact, we're more apt to "lose it" and quickly point blame at the other person. If this sounds like you, it's important to remember the age-old adage: When we point the finger at someone else, there are three pointing back at us!
In most cases, whether we like to hear it or not, both parties contribute to a disagreement. Of course, life would be so much easier if the other person would just give in and see things your way; however, the reality is that you can't change the way the other person thinks. If you truly want to resolve the situation in a calm and productive manner (i.e. NOT losing it), you need to change your thoughts and reactions. A communication reboot can help you keep emotions in check.
Rethinking how you communicate in the "heat of the moment" is key. A friend and colleague, Dr. Rejeanne Dupuis, recently reminded me of David Burns' Five Secrets of Communication:
1. Disarming: Find some truth in what the other person is saying.
2. Empathy: Put yourself in the other person's shoes.
3. Inquiry: Ask gentle probing questions about what the other person is feeling.
4. Self-expression: Use "I feel" statements instead of "you" (blaming) statements.
5. Appreciation: Find something genuinely positive to say to the other person.
Reprogramming our thoughts is not an easy task, especially in the midst of a disagreement, but learning this skill is very rewarding. It will change your life experience at work (and at home), and guaranteed people will be pointing fingers at you for all the right reasons.
For more help with controlling your thoughts and dealing more positively with stress, try my "Triple A" Formula.