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Choices About Reacting to Conflict

Even when we are aware that we aren’t helping matters, many of us still repeat our habitual and unproductive ways of reacting when we are in conflict. Contrary to what some believe, most of us have choices about how we manage conflict. Unless we are intentional about learning new ways of engaging in conflict that work for us and those around us, we will continue to rely on the old ways of managing conflict. We may even realize that what we consider impulsive and out of our control is actually something we are able to manage very well.

If we aim to be more masterful when it comes to conflict, it helps to reflect on a number of things. These include the risks about continuing to rely on habits that are counterproductive and the choices we have to respond more constructively.

The suggested starting point in this endeavour is to acknowledge that we have the wisdom, ability, right, knowledge, skill and courage to select responses that align with our values and intentions. Here are some questions to inspire thinking about alternative reactions:

  • What do you know about yourself and the way you habitually respond to conflict that you would like to change?
  • What may others have told you directly or indirectly about something you habitually do, other than what you have just answered?
  • How have those habits helped you in the past? Not helped you?
  • What other risks are there about continuing these habits?
  • In your last dispute, what was your reaction that was one of your habits that is counterproductive?
  • What could you have said or done differently that would be more in keeping with how you prefer to interact?
  • What do you think kept you from responding that way?
  • What ways of responding to conflict do you admire, that you have observed in others?
  • What is the highest compliment someone could say about how you respond when you are in conflict?
  • What do you want to learn, to be able to respond in ways you prefer when you are in conflict?

What other comments and ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may increase awareness regarding choices about responding when in conflict?

© CINERGY® Coaching, June 2011

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