Trauma-Informed Organization: Communication

Posted on May 05, 2023

The way we talk to people really depends on how we see them and what is going on inside ourselves. The Arbinger Institute published a book called Leadership and Self-Deception.

In this book, self-deception is seen as the source of problems because it causes us to be blind to solutions, so we end up making things worse. Self-deception is the story we tell ourselves about the situation we’re in. For example, if I stub my toe I might say, “If that table hadn’t been there…” rather than acknowledging that I wasn’t watching where I was going.

It’s normal to get mad or upset when we’re having a difficult conversation. We want to place blame somewhere other than ourselves. It’s uncomfortable and stressful. Sometimes, our reaction is to avoid conflicts in the future. Instead of avoiding a difficult conversation, there are things we can do to make it easier for us.

  • Take space to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Sometimes, writing down what you want to say can help.
  • If you feel yourself getting emotional or experiencing stress because of the conversation, try counting to three before responding.
  • Try not to predict how the conversation will go or how you think the other person will respond. Focus on how you hope it will go and what is in your control.

Think about the last conflict you had. How did it go? What would you do differently now?