art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

KNOW YOUR WORTH

“Know your worth. You must find the courage to leave the table if respect is no longer being served.” Tene Edwards

I find this a poignant quote. There’s only so much any of us can or want to tolerate when we don’t feel respected. This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog speaks to this as it pertains to being in conflict. That is, our level of toleration varies in conflict depending on a number of variables, including whom the conflict is with and what it is about?

Generally, most of us do not want to put up with words and actions that result in us feeling vulnerable, threatened, experiencing ongoing tension, being undermined, hurt and upset, feeling ‘lesser than’ and other outcomes that can occur from being engaged in destructive conflict.

At these times – when the conflict dynamics threaten our self-worth – many of us lose track of ourselves and our strengths. Self-limiting beliefs might kick in; we may lose faith in ourselves and underestimate our strengths; we may feel powerless; and we might lose courage to stand up for ourselves or our values and our needs. Maintaining and gaining strength at these times is often difficult and we forget we have a choice to walk away – with our dignity and self-respect. This blog invites you to unpack an interpersonal dispute and consider when and how to leave the table because respect is no longer being served.

  • What is the dispute about?
  • In what ways is the other person undermining and disrespecting you?
  • About what in this dynamic are you feeling strong?
  • About what are you feeling least strong in this dispute?
  • What did you think about yourself before this conflict with respect to your relationship with the other person? Your relationship with yourself?
  • What about now – taking the above questions to the present?
  • What does ‘leaving the table’ mean to you as one of your choices regarding this dispute? What other meanings may apply?
  • If you hadn’t already included ‘leaving the table’ as one of your choices, what now makes that a possibility?
  • What scares you about the possibility of leaving the table as you define it?
  • In what ways might you muster your courage to ‘leave the table’?
  • 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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BEING EGO-LESS

“When misunderstandings grow cut your ego.” Anonymous

I imagine psychiatrists and other related professionals would dispute the idea that we as humans can be ego-less under any circumstances, including when it comes to being in conflict with others. Well, they are probably right. However, I’m going to suggest we consider this a little before exploring the notion of being ego-less when it comes to our interpersonal disputes further.

What does ego mean? One of the many definitions is “your idea or opinion of yourself, especially your feeling of your own importance and ability” (Cambridge Dictionary). Often the sentiment behind saying someone has an ego is done in a derogatory way. However, I think it’s safe to say we all have an ego. After all it’s our sense of self that we bring to our way of being in the world and we have ideas we have developed over time about what that is. The idea of being ego-less, as in the title here and as it applies to engaging in conflict, implies that our ego can get in the way of being able to engage in conversations in which we try to assert our rightness for the sake of wanting and needing to be right.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog considers whether we can be in conflict and leave our ego aside while engaging in conversations which challenge our identity, values and needs, or when contemplating how to handle a fractious situation that may end up doing so.

Among other things, this means approaching the other person and the conflict situation from a place of curiosity – a place in which we don’t need to be right, in which we care more about maintaining or improving the relationship as opposed to winning, in which we are fine with not proving ourselves or getting what we want, in which being better than (more knowing, more powerful, more anything) is not on the agenda.

To answer the questions in this blog I suggest you start by bringing to mind a dispute that isn’t mending.

  • What’s the dispute about?
  • What do you want to have happen? What do they want?
  • If you want things to reconcile in this situation and make amends with the other person what is getting in the way of that happening from what you can tell? What part are you playing in that?
  • What part is the other person playing that is keeping things from reconciling?
  • What might be important to that person that isn’t being satisfied and that could be contributing to the stale-mate?
  • What part are you playing that may be keeping things from reconciling?
  • What is important to you that might be contributing to the stale-mate?
  • In what ways may the other person’s ego be a part of the challenge you’re both facing in reconciling your differences?
  • What part of your ego is not serving you well in this dispute?
  • What if you left your ego out of the conflict what difference might that make?
  • 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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NO SHORTCUTS WHEN IT COMES TO CONFLICT

I like this quote by Beverly Sills – it applies to just about everything!

When it comes to interpersonal conflict though ‘any place worth going’ might be feeling listened to, understood, acknowledged, mutual reconciling of our differences, feeling settled, resolved, and relieved. When it comes to conflict there are truly no short cuts to attain these outcomes.

What might this mean as it pertains to conflict? The notion of shortcuts in conflict may refer to things like taking actions and uttering words that only serve to put a band-aid on what occurred. Or, it may be attempts to make quick fixes to hurt feelings and to issues that require more attention. These might include insincere or untimely apologies; it might be making efforts to appease and move past things when the other person resists – not ready to or wanting to – at least just yet.

In these scenarios and others that are experienced as short cuts, one or both (or more) people usually remain upset and unresolved in themselves or with the other person.

I commonly hear about these sorts of experiences from coaching clients who share situations in which the other person’s ‘short-cut type’ actions have made matters worse. Some clients share that they too take shortcuts of various sorts with the hope of getting over and past the dispute, to get what they want, to win. And when it doesn’t work – whoever takes shortcuts – the result is often increased angst, interpersonal dissension and a breakdown in the relationship.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites readers to consider a dispute in which you identify yourself as someone who took a shortcut that didn’t work out well and one in which you experienced the other person’s actions as a shortcut – and it didn’t work out well.

  • What’s the situation in which you took a shortcut that didn’t work out well?
  • What shortcut did you take? For what reason did you take that shortcut?
  • What did you achieve? What didn’t you achieve that you hoped to?
  • What was the impact on the other person? The relationship?
  • What was an alternate way of managing the dispute that might have worked out better?
  • What different outcome might there have been if you had done so (your answer to the above question)?
  • What would be good about that outcome? What wouldn’t be good about it?
  • When you’ve been in a conflict and someone else took what you would call a ‘shortcut’, what was the situation? What was the shortcut?
  • What was the impact on you? The relationship?
  • What might the other person have done differently that might have been better for you? In what way(s) might have been better?
  • 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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ONE WAY OR ANOTHER

Having been in the conflict management field for a long time – as a mediator and conflict management coach – I have seen and heard repeatedly the positional stances people take when in conflict. I too, have experienced being in conflict when the other person and I are diametrically opposed – one way or the other – or so it seems. In this regard, this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog is about the apparent ‘stuckiness’ that commonly happens when we are in conflict.

What intrigued me about the picture above – at least one interpretation I gleaned – is that there is a connection of some sort between the arrows though they are pointing away from one another. There is a chain between them and they are aligned in the photo. Though this interpretation might seem like a huge stretch – my perspective here comes from what I have observed in my various professional roles and personal disputes. That is, I find it is common that people in relational conflicts – co-workers/staff, friends, family members, Board members, and others – often share some common ground despite what might appear as disparate views. The commonness for instance, might be wanting to resolve maters, wishing we weren’t in conflict, feeling badly, being sorry for what we said, wanting an apology, feeling hurt, disappointed, betrayed and so on.

The possibility then, is that even when one person wants or expects one thing and the other person apparently wants something altogether different it may be that they are not altogether disparate in their needs and wants and that there is a way to find common ground.

If this resonates for you and a dispute you are experiencing, here are some questions to check out that possibility.

  • What is going on between you and the other person?
  • How does the other person want things to go about the issues in dispute between you from what you know? Why is that important to them do you think?
  • How do you want things to go? What makes those things important to you?
  • What sorts of commonalities do you and the other person have considering your above answers? If you don’t see any what might the answer to this question be?
  • In what ways are you and the other person most different on what is important to you?
  • What did you expect from the other person about the issues in dispute? What did the other person expect from you?
  • What sorts of common ground do the two of you already have based on your relationship?
  • What other sorts of other commonalities exist between what you want that you haven’t yet mentioned?
  • How might you two resolve matters in ways that meet both of your wants?
  • If things are resolvable between the two of you, what then?

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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LESSONS LEARNED FROM CONFLICT

We all make mistakes – lots even – and lots of the time. Sometimes, some of the people who experience an adverse impact by our mistakes don’t let us forget the hurt and harm we caused. In these cases, and even when we aren’t reminded, the aftereffects in our relational conflicts linger in ways that remind us of our vulnerability and of our humanness. And we know we don’t want to repeat the same mistakes again. On a more positive note, it’s good to also remind ourselves that mistakes provide huge learning opportunities that can actually strengthen the relationship. There are, of course, variations and degrees of both of these possible outcomes along this spectrum.

It feels just plain lousy to make mistakes. And the effort to reframe them – to consider that the mistakes we make can teach us lessons – might seem ludicrous when we are still reeling from the fall-out. However, in my role as a conflict management coach and personally, I am aware of the lessons that can evolve. This includes being more cognizant of the other person’s sensibilities, and learning ways to conduct ourselves going forward that enable us to prevent unnecessary conflict and preserve our dignity and that of the other person. This might not only be the next time we are faced with an interpersonal dispute that is similar or a different one.

Where we stand along the spectrum of how we manage our mistakes in interpersonal disputes depends on many variables. These include who the other person is, what caused the upset (what was said or done or not said or done), and so on. In any case, the reality is our mistakes give us a chance to learn about ourselves, the other person and, hopefully, how we can ultimately forget the mistake and remember the lesson.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider a mistake you made that resulted in a conflict.

  • What was the situation in which you made a mistake? What did you say or do?
  • What motivated you to say or do that (your answer to the above question)?
  • What was the impact on the other person during that conflict?
  • What impact has remained for the other person?
  • What about you and your feelings – how might you describe the impact on you at the time? How about now?
  • What motivated you to do or say that or those things at the time, as you recall?
  • What lingers for you about the other person’s reaction? What else lingers from the mistake?
  • What are you realizing the learning point is (or learning points are) that resulted from your mistake in this conflict?
  • How might you imbed what you learned as to not repeat the mistake but rather, hold onto the learning?
  • What will help you forget what you said or did as a mistake while remembering the lesson?
  • 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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