dress for conflict

 

Wouldn’t it be great to have bunch of wise professionally diverse women aged 25-70 give you feedback on how your appearance aligns with your goals? Just to know? Micheal Jordan called feedback ‘The breakfast of champions” because unlike criticism which knocks you down, feedback is an ‘aha’ moment, identifying exactly what to do to improve a situation. When I moderate "The Secret to Personal Presence' at Raupe & Schmetterling in Berlin, that’s what happens.  This is about give customised and focused feedback, so I explain the principles of visual perception. Then, each participant defines a  3-adjective brand vision statement clarifying how they want to be perceived during an upcoming crucial conversation or conflict situation.

 
 
 Christine Lagarde owning her space

Christine Lagarde owning her space

Do you need to focus more on your agenda?

 And using her scarf and body language to expand her territory

And using her scarf and body language to expand her territory

 
 

When it comes to conflict, there are two factors that influence your communication: how hard you push for your agenda and how much attention you give to relationships. These two factors result in 5 different conflict styles:

COOPERATING, HARMONISING, DIRECTING, AVOIDING, COMPROMISING.

Each style has distinct advantages and disadvantages but today we'll focus on the overuse of harmonising and learning to increase the use of directing in your conflict management. 

DIRECTING: high focus on your agenda, low focus on the relationship. You: control, assert, insist, compete, control, demand, defeat.

HARMONISING: low focus on your agenda, high focus on the relationship. You: agree, go along with, give in, affirm.

 Angela Goding, Director of Development at the Museum of Modern Art, NY

Angela Goding, Director of Development at the Museum of Modern Art, NY

 Wendy Dagworthy, former head of Central Saint Martins Design School

Wendy Dagworthy, former head of Central Saint Martins Design School

No one style is the best response for all situations of conflict, because what is helpful in one situations won’t be in another. The Harmonizing response brings brings kindness and comfort into the relationships because you only place medium value on your agenda. You give in more easily so you speed up the decision-making process. However, there are times when the only wise response is Directing because your agenda takes priority.

Case studies

A kindergarten teacher was exhausted by parents daily complaining and frustrated by her inability to stop this time-draining behaviour. She often felt bullied.


A corporate manager’s phone conversations with a male client left her feeling frustrated and undervalued because he dominated every call. She was furious when this continued in their face to face meeting and because She was an expert in her field, yet had been talked down to and her opinions not valued.

The women explained how they wish to be perceived and through a show of hands the group demonstrated if their wardrobe communicate their brand statement. The show of hands is not evaluating the beauty of the women or their clothes but how effectively the participants desired message reaches the audience.

I chose these two women because their outfits were similar: light coloured, lacy tops and light weight trousers. Both desired to be perceived as clear, confident experts. When no hands were raised clearly none of the three adjectives were perceived by the audience.  The addition of a jacket, a protective third layer provided the needed visual weight.  The result was immediate authority. Both women felt overdressed but received audience feedback they weren't and that adding the jacket tripled their perceived confidence level.  The same happened when I changed the white lacy top to plain navy and added navy trousers. The take home? Adding visual weight through a third layer is a protective measure that literally adds confidence.





Create a professional wardrobe capsule that works for you not against you

DRESS TO COMMAND RESPECT

Learn how to dress for impact and influence when you need it..jpg

1. BE SEEN, HEARD & VALUED

Confidence is our ability to know that we can successfully deal with life’s challenges. Especially because we humans are so visual, it’s crucial to look in the mirror and know that what you’re wearing empowers you with confidence so you stand eye to eye with everyone.  Dress to be seen, heard and valued.

2. STOP HIDING behind clothing

Most of of us go through our lifetime operating with one conflict style in our repertoire. One that has strengths....yes, but through years of overuse has morphed into a weakness. We may have learnt it in childhood or our teens and have now spent years staying in the comfort zone of that style. Stepping out of your comfort zone and communicating another side of your personality takes time and practise till it feels authentic. don’t hide your directive personality behind clothing that makes you look like a little grey mouse, even if all the others on your team do so. Dress for confidence, visibility and influence even if you need to fake it till you make it! Shining your light makes you a role model for others who may be struggling to shine theirs!

3. SET BOUNDRIES THRU WARDROBE

Olympic athletes have coaches who help them visualize winning. Studies have show that visualising your success is the most important factor in actually achieving it.  Dressing intentionally to set boundaries helps you visualise actually communicating your message more clearly. Your mind focuses on boundary setting and becomes aware that the harmonising factor needs to defer to directing, so you can be listened to and valued. When you open your closet in the morning, set your intention on visually and verbally aligning your message.

 

 

Use a jacket third layer to set boundaries around your authority during your crucial conversation.

 Giorgia Tordoni’s navy jacket adds an elegant protective third layer

Giorgia Tordoni’s navy jacket adds an elegant protective third layer

Are you in a conflict situation that needs to have a crucial conversation? Is your default communication style harmonising? Start looking at clothing from a directing perspective and identify outfits with a "don't mess with with me" third layer suit of armour. This third layer is both protective and empowering. And ensures ou dress to intentionally increase your director in conflict situations. Clothing is a communication too to help you leave your comfort zone and awaken your boundary setting directing side!  Open the door to the full expression of your potential! Be sure to click the link and discover more about conflict styles at https://www.riverhouseepress.com/intro-in-powerpoint And if you’re struggling to communicate impact and authenticity you can….

 Different situation and personalities require different styles

Different situation and personalities require different styles

 Linda V Wright’s style archetype is THE COSMOPOLITAN: polished, refined and sophisticated.

Linda V Wright’s style archetype is THE COSMOPOLITAN: polished, refined and sophisticated.

 Ana Gimena Brugada’s style archetype is THE ARTIST: a creative powerhouse with impact.

Ana Gimena Brugada’s style archetype is THE ARTIST: a creative powerhouse with impact.