Avoid Getting Hijacked
A common phrase that is used is, “Cooler heads will prevail.”
Why do people use this phrase? Why does it seem to be true?
The truth is there is some biology behind this. The amygdala is a gland in the brain that controls the fight or flight emotion in us. It can trigger the fight sense that causes us to get very defensive and not listen to people. Several things can cause the amygdala to react in a social setting. Some triggers include being:
It is important to understand these triggers in yourself so you can see them coming and head off the amygdala hijacking before it starts. Once it starts studies have shown it takes about 18 minutes for the average person to cool back down ain order to have a reasonable discussion.
Why is this important? Because keeping a cool head and not getting hijacked allows us as leaders to have better open and honest discussions with others in the organization or at home.
Lets face it. The hard conversations on performance and behaviors are the ones that are easy to get hijacked on. Nobody wants to talk or hear about something they aren’t doing well. These are times we have to prepare ourselves to not get hijacked. Some ways to prevent a hijacking is to:
- Know what your triggers are
- Watch you motives, assume positive intent
- Breathe – There are biological reason this actually works to calm a person down
- Ask for a break if necessary and explain why
None of this is easy, but becoming good at preventing hijacks can make us better leaders and open our ears to more ways to improve.