When you are feeling short of time, it stands to reason that you are likely to become short tempered. Handling tricky situations suddenly can send you into orbit and leave you feeling that you could have handled things a lot better with hindsight. Well none of us are perfect, we are human and we can only do our best. But this little piece of advice came in very handy for me and it may just help you too. I have also handed it on to many of my clients who have responded with a light bulb moment when I shared this with them.
Be hard on the issue and soft on the person. I was given this piece of advice on a negotiations skills course when I was working as an account manager for an organization some years ago. Yet this piece of advice has stood me in good stead in many tricky situations, both at work and with my personal and family relationships. Being hard on the issue and being soft on the person is effectively being assertive. Being assertive can be quite difficult to quantify, which is why I found this piece of advice so useful. It put what being assertive meant in a nutshell.
Just to explain a little more, the opposite of being hard on the issue and soft on the person is either: Being hard on the issue and hard on the person - which is likely to be perceived as aggressive by the recipient. Being seen to be aggressive can lead to bad feeling and does not necessarily lead to the issue being addressed. The opposite of this is to be soft on the person and soft on the issue. And this likely to be perceived as passive by the recipient. Being passive may mean you are not listened to or taken seriously.
The other problem we are likely to encounter when we are being passive or aggressive is that we jump from one extreme to the other. Either being passive to aggressive, because we get frustrated or from aggressive to passive because we feel guilty. So the next time you are feeling challenged, need to make a stand, a complaint or dish out a little discipline. Remember. Hard on the person and hard on the issue = aggressive Soft on the person and soft on the issue = passive Hard on the issue and soft on the person = assertive = just right - just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.