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ConflictMastery Quest(ions) Blog

The CINERGY® Conflict Management Coaching Blog –ConflictMastery® Quest(ions) – is for anyone who finds self-reflective questions helpful for examining and strengthening your conflict intelligence. It is also for coaches, mediators, HR professionals, ombudsmen, leaders, lawyers, psychologists, counsellors and others who also use self-reflective questions as tools for helping your clients in these ways.

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CARRYING GRUDGES

“Grudges seldom hurt anyone except the one bearing them.” Sherrilyn Kenyon

One of the things that happens after interpersonal conflict is that some of us bear a grudge. We continue to hold onto negative feelings about the other person and may do so for a protracted period of time. We may show this by ignoring the person, or making derogatory remarks about them directly or indirectly to others. Or, we may retaliate in different ways. Carrying around grudges may be a way of coping, but we usually recognize at some point in time that they are heavy weights on us and carrying them contributes to ongoing dissension.

Some of us have a proclivity for bearing grudges as a way of handling conflict and it may reflect a general lack of resilience, inability to let go, a type of defense mechanism, a need for control, an inability to regulate emotions and other reasons. In any case, carrying around heavy feelings about the other person not only has a huge impact on us. It is a lousy feeling to experience lingering negative feelings and thoughts, when we are the recipient of someone else’s grudge against us. Considering this means a lot to preserving the ongoing relationship, if that is of importance to us.

Considering these ideas, here are some Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) from this week’s blog that may be helpful in exploring grudges if you are carrying some around about another person and the interpersonal conflict you have had.

  • Under what circumstances do you tend to carry grudges as far as you can tell?
  • What is it about those particular situations and/or people that result in doing so, do you think?
  • What are the sorts of feelings you have about the other person when you are bearing a grudge?
  • Considering one of the situations about which you are carrying (or did carry) a grudge, to what are (or were) you specifically reacting that the other person did or said or didn’t do or say?
  • What did you perceive the person was challenging or undermining about you, if that was (part of) the reason for your reaction?
  • In what ways do you demonstrate you are carrying a grudge?
  • How do you think that is experienced by the other person (your answer to the above question)?
  • How does it feel for you to carry a grudge?
  • What do you gain from carrying grudges? What do you lose by doing so?
  • What do you think it would take to let go of a grudge if you wanted to?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#interpersonalconflict
#conflict
#coaching
#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflictmanagement
#disputeresolution

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NAME-CALLING IN CONFLICT

Even though we know that name-calling is infantile, sometimes in the heat of anger, we realize we have resorted to blaming the other person with names that hurt. Or, the other person is verbally attacking us with hurtful and demeaning names. Unfortunately, the sentiments experienced in these words often echo long after the disagreement is over and may even get dragged into subsequent conversations.

Name-calling is an impulsive habit for responding to something another person says or does that offends us. Or, some use it as a tool purposefully to put the other person down, insult and hurt them. From the point of view of conflict mastery, it is worth exploring the feeling and words behind name-calling and the moments that incite them. Won’t you consider the following questions in this regard from this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog if you chose name-calling in an interpersonal dispute?

  • If you name-call at times, what name(s) did you use in the last conflict when you did so?
  • Why did you choose those particular names or that name?
  • What were you hoping to achieve with calling the other person that name or those names?
  • What did you need, expect or hope for from that person that there weren’t delivering (if you didn’t refer to one or more of these above)?
  • What do you suppose motivated you to name-call at that time, rather than responding differently?
  • What emotions were you experiencing?
  • What was the observable impact on the other person when you called the name(s) you referred to?
  • How did name-calling work for you? How did it work against you?
  • If other people have called you names, how have you responded?
  • Consider one of those situations (if someone called you a name or names). What could they have said or done in that situation, that would have kept the conflict from escalating?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#interpersonalconflict
#conflict
#coaching
#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflictmanagement
#disputeresolution

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CONFLICT HABITS

When it comes to how we engage in interpersonal conflict – how we react to people who hurt us and how we defend ourselves – are like other habits that we come to repeat without thought. That is, our responses are often rote behaviours – patterns – that reflect what we have learned about how to cope with certain situations. Conflict habits have to do with, among other things, how we manage and regulate our emotions when we are provoked. Habits may show up in how we communicate, and how we defend things that are important to us. Some work for us and others do not.

Generally, we do not recognize habits as things we can change. We learned them over time and they have come to feel a part of who we are. However, we have the ability to unlearn our habits and replace them with ones that better serve us and those around us. As with other habits – we realize as such and want to change – the starting point is to acknowledge the one or ones that are counterproductive and focus on how we prefer to be. Here are some questions in this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog to help focus on habits and the related intentions when in conflict.

  • What habits do you have about the ways you manage conflict that you would like to change?
  • Choosing one of these, how do you describe this habit in more detail? How did you develop this habit as far as you can recall?
  • How has this habit served you over time? How has it not served you?
  • How do you want to be and be seen with respect to this habit that is different from how you are now?
  • When you make the change, to be the way you describe, what do you hope will be different for you?
  • How will the change impact other people with whom you are in conflict?
  • How badly do you want to change this habit on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being ‘very much’?
  • What is or are the downside(s) of making the change or changes you describe?
    What may be keeping you from beginning to make the change(s) if you want to do so? How come?
  • What is one step you can take immediately to make the change you want regarding this habit?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#interpersonalconflict
#conflict
#coaching
#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflictmanagement
#disputeresolution

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ABANDONING OUR ASSUMPTIONS WHEN IN CONFLICT

“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the things that many of us do when we are in conflict is to make assumptions about the other person and their motives. Depending on our relationship with the person, the nature of the situation, what is said or done (or not said or done), and our frame of mind and heart at that time, there are varying levels of assumptions we may make.

We may start out by giving the other person the benefit of the doubt and make excuses that demonstrate some empathy or understanding of why they are acting or being a certain way that irritates us. On the other hand, we may go directly to malevolent assumptions, depending on what they have said or done and the degree to which we are offended by them.

Reflecting on and checking out our assumptions – the perspectives and views we choose – helps us become more masterful at managing conflict. To most effectively respond to some of the queries from this week’s ConflictMastery Quest(ions) blog, it helps to consider a specific situation that is ongoing or one that has recently happened when answering these questions:

  • Considering a specific situation, what did the other person say or do that you found particularly irritating?
  • What are three possible reasons you might attribute to them and why they did so?
    1
    2
    3
  • If you do this sort of thing yourself at times, what are your reasons? How might those reasons apply here?
  • What don’t you know about the other person’s reasons for saying or doing that (those things) that provoked you in that scenario?
  • If you check it out and you are right about your negative assumption(s) about the other person in this particular situation, what will that mean for you?
  • If you check it out and you are not right about your negative assumption (s), what might that mean for you?
  • What may surprise you about the other person’s motives that would be the best case scenario for you?
  • If checking out your assumptions with the other person’s motives is a challenge for you, what is that about?
  • What happens if you don’t check out your assumptions?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#interpersonalconflict
#conflict
#coaching
#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflictmanagement
#disputeresolution

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ABOUT FORGIVING

“Forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past.” Lily Tomlin

Forgiving is complex. Among other things, forgiveness means being able to let go of the hurt and pain from a situation that causes us much grief. Some people expect that once they apologize for something they said or did that they are forgiven. It’s not that easy.

There are many layers to forgiveness, including how egregious the act was or the words were, how deeply we feel the pain of that act or those words, the nature of the deed or words that hurt us, who asks for forgiveness and how forgiveness is requested. Sometimes when we seem to be unable to forgive, we may not be ready to let go of particularly hurtful memories and emotions about the other person or the situation. Maybe, too, we haven’t forgiven ourselves for something. These and other reasons preclude our willingness, ability and readiness to forgive. And the question often arises – do I have to forgive?

In a future blog, I’ll talk more about the perspective of the person asking for forgiveness. Today’s questions from the ConflictMastery Quest(ions) are for people who are not forgiving someone for something said or done in an interpersonal dispute. Consider a situation in which this applies to you and see if some or all of these questions are helpful.

  • What happened between you and the other person?
  • What specifically is it that you are not forgiving about what occurred?
  • What is making it most difficult for you to forgive?
  • What is the impact of not forgiving having on you?
  • What is the impact on the other person?
  • Forgiving may not be what you want to do. If that’s what is happening for you, why do you think you don’t want to forgive?
  • How would life be different if you forgive the other person?
  • What may you lose, if anything, if you forgive? What may you gain, if anything, if you do?
  • What may you lose if you do not forgive? What may you gain if you do not forgive?
  • What do you suppose has to happen for you to be ready to forgive the other person, if forgiving is what you want to do?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#interpersonalconflict
#conflict
#coaching
#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching
#conflictmanagement
#disputeresolution

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