I heard my son utter this comment to his friend recently, and it brought tears of joy to my eyes.
I can't think of a better compliment.
I always wanted to be the kind of parent who provided emotional safety.
I don't need to be the "cool" parent, or the "best friend" parent... just someone who my kids can trust to be calm under pressure, and who will not lose it when I hear news that I am not looking forward to.
And trust me, I've had plenty of opportunities to lose it!
But if we are going to be TRUSTWORTHY, one of the most important qualities we can cultivate is to be calm under pressure, and un-reactive when we hear news that we don't want to hear.
In fact, we need to take it one step further, and cultivate our ability to be curious in these very moments, because these critical incidents set the stage for whether a person will feel safe sharing the REAL STORY, and also bringing us more "bad news" later.
This is the bedrock of psychologically safe relationships, and one of the KEY skills that I teach in my new course called, "Building a High-Trust Workplace," that will be released on video in the next couple of weeks.
It's hard to describe the power of this particular practice. Think about it...
Our ability to stay calm and get curious opens up deeper levels of conversation. It demonstrates that we can SEE others, and UNDERSTAND them, which is like an invitation to connect.
Often, we REACT with anger, frustration, indignation or judgement which shuts down connection and stalls any REAL conversation.
Think about a time when YOU needed to share "difficult" news. How did the other person react?
But let's be honest- this can be tough. Especially when our lives move fast and we are under pressure.
But it is NOT impossible.
Give yourself some breathing room, and make a commitment to listening to understand. Then, pay attention to the good stuff that emerges!