Hostile interactions often start with one person or group members blaming, criticizing, complaining and judging. Employees may react by defending, distancing and stonewalling. People often are unaware of how their reactivity triggers negative emotions in others and that destructive behavior can escalate into a toxic work environment.
Emotional Connection is a newly evolving structured approach to conflict and relationship repair. The framework is based on well-researched Attachment Theory and Neuroscience -we are hard-wired to connect with each other. It is part of our survival instinct. Seeing the need for connection at the source of defensive cycles shifts the way we frame the issues.
After learning and using the Emotional Connection framework, I see entrenched destructive communications as ineffective strategies that employees use to get their needs met with others. Instead of labeling behaviors as dysfunctional, I see that people are struggling to connect with others and don’t know a better way. I work with employees to replace ineffective with effective communication strategies to bridge their disconnect. Employees learn to stop blaming each other. They see the other person is not at fault. The repeating patterns of interactions cause the disconnect and the patterns build up into negative cycles. The cycle is the bad guy. Individuals and teams can learn what their emotional triggers are and make a choice to self-correct into a positive cycle. It stops the drama of reactivity.
The joy of working together with cooperation and high rapport returns. We need teams, managers, human resources, employees to raise their EQ skills, increase their empathy and compassion. This is foundational EQ work. Everyone can learn to prevent and reverse toxic interactions from taking over and fast-track to a positive and safe work environment.
Below is a video excerpt from a recent webinar that I did with Dr. Gershfeld on this topic. I review the stages of the Emotional Connection framework, describe examples of distressed, high conflict work settings, and some of the solutions I used. I think these examples of a distressed work environment will look familiar. You can see the potential for using a structured step-by-step approach for relationship repair and team learning to build a positive culture and is harassment and bully-free.
Previously published on LinkedIn.
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