Ever felt your cheeks go hot in a meeting? I sure have. Sometimes it’s because I’ve felt dismissed, sometimes because I’ve felt attacked. But in a work setting, I have to somehow control that reaction and find a way to de-escalate. Here’s a method I’ve used successfully in a lot of heated moments.

Find the unspoken fear

In my experience, when situations get really heated, there’s normally an unspoken fear driving it on one or both sides. Fear makes us all behave in pretty destructive ways, and it’s particularly damaging in the workplace. …


It’s always smart to work with people unlike you — you cover a lot more bases when you’re looking at the same problems through different lenses. But there’s another reason why it’s great — you get way better at communicating. This simple communication technique I’ve picked up makes it much easier to draw out hard truths and say the unsayable.

A scale from a car dashboard that shows 0–9
A scale from a car dashboard that shows 0–9

Scales over subtlety

Being American, I’m not exactly subtle. This also means that I’m not great at recognising more subtle communication styles — I always expected people to jump up and down if they had a big problem like I would. …


Welcome to the world of management! If you’re smart, you’re probably a little scared about what comes next —nobody should take lightly that they are now not only responsible for their work, but also the work and career progression of another human being. It can be incredibly rewarding and incredibly difficult, and nobody gets it right all the time. With that said, there are some things I’ve picked up along the way that might help.

As a manager, your first responsibility is now to ensure that your line report has everything they need to do their job and is comfortable…

Danae Shell

Developer-turned-marketer, nerd, human being. Co-founder and CEO at Valla

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