Stressed? Who, me? Never

When stakes are high, emotions run strong, and opinions differ, we all struggle to stay cool. We often either clam up and hope the conflict will go away, or we blow up and damage trust and respect. Take the assessment and find out how well you communicate when it matters most.


Identify a Relationship

Before you begin, think of a relationship you want to explore—with your boss, coworker, direct report, partner, or family member.

Identify a Circumstance

Next, think of a tough disagreement you've had or continue to have—one where you feel frustrated or irritated or that doesn't get resolved to your satisfaction.


With the relationship and disagreement in mind, respond to the following statements.

  1. Rather than tell people exactly what I think, sometimes I rely on jokes, sarcasm, or snide remarks to let them know I'm frustrated.
  2. When I've got something tough to bring up, I understate it rather than share my full opinion.
  3. Sometimes when people bring up a touchy issue, I try to change the subject.
  4. When it comes to dealing with difficult subjects, sometimes I steer the conversation to safer issues rather than address what really concerns me.
  5. At times I avoid situations that might bring me into contact with people I'm having problems with.
  6. I put off getting back to people sometimes because I'm uncomfortable dealing with them.
  7. I sometimes find myself having the same conversation with the same person multiple times.
  8. At times I walk away from conversations with an agreement that I don't think really solves the problem.
  9. When I'm discussing an important topic with others, sometimes I move from trying to make my point to trying to win the battle.
  10. Sometimes I decide that it's better to keep the peace than share my views.
  11. When talking about sensitive subjects, my emotions often get the best of me.
  12. I sometimes walk away from conversations rehashing the reasons I'm right and others are wrong.