You're a Diplomat

Illustration: Jen Troyer

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You're a great negotiator and a crackerjack problem solver. During conflicts, your first impulse is to smooth things over ("If you're upset that I canceled our lunch, why don't we get together tomorrow instead?"). Your quick-fix knack is noble, but it can prompt you to act before you fully understand the situation—or how you feel about it.

Rules of Engagement: To combat your instinct for action, practice becoming an attentive listener. Rather than proposing a fix, ask the person, "How can we come up with a solution that's good for both of us?" To show that you're listening, focus on your body language: Shoulders back and down conveys receptivity to others.

This exercise was created by Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7-Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life (Jossey-Bass).

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