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Stepping Up To Conflict

To become conflict masterful, it requires us to step up. In case you are wondering, this is different from facing conflict, i.e. accepting that it exists. Stepping up is different, too, from being confrontational, combative and defending our position.

It is suggested in this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog that stepping up is about making an effort to understand the other person’s needs and owning our contribution or asking what it was if we don’t know. It’s about reaching out to resolve matters (or at least discuss them) and using the conflict as an opportunity to make things better between us and the other person.

Stepping up isn’t easy. In the heat of conflict, we are usually challenged to control our defensive reactions or remove ourselves from the blame game or hurt feelings. It requires us to reflect closely on ourselves, to regulate our emotions, and shift our brains from reaction to reflection before responding.

This week’s blog then, invites you to consider how to step up in ways that help reduce the tension and move the dispute into a conciliatory conversation. To do so, it is suggested that you bring to mind a dispute that already went off the rails or is currently doing so.

  • What is the dispute about? What bothers you most about what the other person said or did?
  • How would you describe the impact of the dispute on you? What is the impact on the other person from what you can observe or that you are otherwise aware of?
  • How much would you like to rectify matters between you two, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being very much)?
  • If less than 10 on the scale (above), what is the lower score about?
  • If you were to step up, what would you want to accomplish by doing so?
  • What might your first step be? How will you be taking this step?
  • What would the next two steps be? How will you be taking these steps?
  • What response from the other person do you want to be most prepared for?
  • How will you ensure your responses are consistent with what you said you want to accomplish?
  • What are you noticing in yourself as you contemplate stepping up?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?


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