Continuing from last week where we discussed workplace terms that can act as powerful diffusers of high emotional situations, here are two more after “Please.” They are “Thank you” and “I’m sorry”.
I can’t imagine that either are new to you or that they are terms you have not been coached/trained on to use in the past. What might be insightful here is to look at these terms from a neuroscience and emotional intelligence perspective. Like “please,” these two terms are disarming.
We often think of saying “thank you” only when someone does something that you want them to do, or for something outside of day to day stuff. Can it also be used when they do something they want to do, and for things that are much more ordinary – like showing up for a meeting on time. How powerful and positive (emotionally) would it be to set the tone of the meeting by starting with “Thanks for coming. I know we’re all busy and have lots to do” or “Thank you for working here.”
An unselfish sense of gratitude can do miracles for a day and buy necessary capital for unforeseen challenges coming down the road. Neurologically, gratitude removes threat levels. Think about it … what enemy would use this term. The same goes for “I’m sorry.” A sense of genuine remorse is also very powerful in removing threat levels and disarming an audience. If it’s genuine, there is very little negativity that proceeds it.
Keep in mind, that stress and anxiety are emotional states that have heavy concentrations of undesired hormones in bodies. In these high emotional temperature states, very little rational or cognitive functions are used. So these terms, as simple as they are, can be extremely useful tools for leaders to use to make sure that folks are operating in a safe and productive environment.
This week, try to use both these terms every hour. You can say “I’m sorry” for being one minute late for a call, or taking too long to respond to an email, or anything fairly low on the scale of emotional temperature. “I’m sorry” does not have to be reserved as a last resort attempt to diffuse a situation. Good luck. Thank you for reading and I’m sorry I did not share this earlier!