Let me tell you a (true) story about miscommunication, conflict and stress management.
I once participated in a learning-intensive one-month course about how to set up your training business. That course brought immense value to my life as a trainer and business owner.
Every day, for 30 days, we met for a live online session that was planned to last about 1h30. More often than not, the organiser kept us longer (even 30-45 mins longer), as she was trying to answer all of our questions and to give us significantly more value than we expected.
While we were in awe of her dedication and the high value we were receiving, one evening, one participant started complaining and being very vocal about her not respecting the schedule.
The organiser started to feel terrible, guilty and doubted her capabilities. She could barely focus on the class because of the stress.
(Note: it’s absolutely normal that some of us will sympathise with the participant, and some of us will understand and support the organiser… or both 🙂 )
What happened there?
Well, knowledge of PCM (Process Communication Model) could have avoided this miscommunication and conflict situation or, once started, could have helped to solve the conflict faster. The complaining participant had Time Structure as their main Psychological Need (specific to the Thinker floor in us).
Thinker Phase Distress: Because the sessions were regularly taking longer than planned, this participant felt that he was not in control of his schedule anymore, which was both very important and very stressful to him. Because of that, he did not see that he was getting a lot more value for the money and instead, he focused on his need not being met. Thus, he became distressed and started attacking the organiser, criticising her for her lack of time structure.
The Harmoniser: The organiser has a very strong Harmoniser energy (most probably her Base and Phase floor). She is warm and caring and she wants to give as much as possible of her knowledge to help others. She puts herself last, over-adapts, and always gives more than expected so that others are happy. This is what she was doing at that time…
Under the stress of the attack, she started to blame herself, could not focus anymore and lacked assertiveness…
How could this have been avoided?
The organiser, knowing how she likes to give so much more value, which often translates into significantly longer sessions, could have communicated this from the beginning and made sure participants understand all sessions were recorded and available afterwards.
Once started, how could the conflict have been solved?
If the organiser had known PCM, she would have recognised the attack as being the distress sequence of the Thinker phase. Covering psychological needs is a good manner of inviting people out of stress. Therefore, she could have tried to meet his need for time structure (by apologising for the delays and re-agreeing on a new schedule, mentioning the recordings, recognising that his need was not met and promising to do better, etc.)
If such situations are no stranger to you…
Join my Open PCM Workshops (or contact me to arrange for PCM sessions in your organisation)
…and learn to better manage stress and conflicts at work or at home.
PS: A big reason I write is to meet people so feel free to say Hi! on Linkedin here or follow my Instagram here, as I’d love to learn more about you.
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