Conflict management: the red line

I learned an interesting thing the other day, one can literally express someone’s emotional state in a graph. Everyone that has been in a conflict management situation knows that at some point, the process of communication has become more important than the actual arguments being exchanged.

One could say that a participant (hopefully only one) has “crossed the red line” and is no longer susceptible to any message that is not related to the process. You can depict it in your mind as the following graph:

When someone has crossed he line only empathic message will arrive. This does not mean you have to agree, but the receiver needs attention to the process, why is he so frustrated? what angers him/her? set aside the actual discussion and start paying attention to the way the discussion is done. Once the adrenaline lowers, you can resume the discussion with arguments. This usually brings back some tension, but by knowing where your discussion partner is positioned with respect to the red line can seriously help you in finding the right approach.

P.S. It also works the other way around,when you feel angered about the process, say so. Don’t mix the subject at hand with the way it is handled.

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