In today’s Leading Yourself and Leading Others Experience I ended up doing an impromptu Aikido demonstration with one of the participants.
Aikido is a martial art and one of its principles is to dance with the energy of your opponent.
How is this relevant to leadership?
As I explained in the session, when we are confronted by an angry team member or customer, often our first reaction is to push back and resist. This doesn’t help to resolve the situation. Rather it either keeps us stuck resisting each other or inflames the situation.
With the principle of Aikido, you actually welcome the energy of your opponent and you dance with it. This means you take their force and you control it.
The same thing is possible when confronted by an angry or passionate person. Figuratively speaking, you want to welcome the energy and dance with it.
You do this by using your Active Listening skills.
Rather than defending or justifying yourself, or worse, arguing and resisting, if you listen to what the other is saying, and I mean Active Listen them, as in demonstrate you heard and understood, you actually reduce the energy they are thrusting at you.
When you have embraced their energy and what they are saying, you are in a much better position to be able to assert yourself and be heard.
For example, say a customer is screaming at you because their favourite cereal is not available. Rather than defending yourself or the company, manufacturer or courier company, active listen to what they are saying and if they demand that you take a certain course of action, simply respond with “Yes, we can do that AND ………”. The “AND” enables you to offer an alternative solution without causing them to increase their intensity and conviction.
You don’t need to argue. You can simply active listen, agree that what they are suggesting is something that “could be done” and then when you have helped them to calm down and be more responsive to your suggestions, you can assert yourself and work towards collaborating to find a mutually agreeable solution.
I encourage you to test it out.
Dance with their energy rather than fight with or resist it.
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