From Reaction to Response: Conflict As A Choice

From Reaction to Response: Conflict As A Choice

Once we embrace that conflict is inevitable in social relationships, the question we have to ask is “how do we respond?” Responsibly, we’d hope. Yet, for the most part, when we are in conflict, we are not very responsive, and tend to be reactive. Shifting to a responsive approach to conflict is easier said than done. When we are in conflict situations, we are typically being triggered and reverting to our unconscious conflict handling scripts.

What’s the difference between a responsive and a reactive approach? When we respond to the challenges of life-including our conflict situations-we take responsibility for our role in the situation, we are in tune with what we are feeling and why, and our thoughts, words and behaviors are conscious of the bigger picture. By contrast, when we react, we shift responsibility for the situation to the other through blame; we assume the victim role and are ‘justifiably’ carried away by powerful feelings like anger, fear and grief. We use an unconscious template for reaction that seeks acknowledgement, justice, restoration, and even revenge.

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The Role of Intuition in Conflict Resolution

The Role of Intuition in Conflict Resolution

There is no question that to resolve a conflict beyond a superficial level, the emotional energy that accompanies any conflict must be addressed. And yet how we go about working with emotions in conflict situations is not that clear. Some encourage a focus on forgiveness, while others point out that until the nasty reality of revenge is addressed, forgiveness will be illusionary. Some say we need to understand the neurobiology of emotion to respond and others say that all we have to do is listen actively.

In this article, I want to explore the role of intuition and suggest that at the heart of the work of conflict resolution, whether by professional mediators, or HR managers is our ability to sense what to do or not do, intervention wise. To do this, we first need to develop our capacity to sense through feeling and images. Secondly, and at a cognitive level, we need to develop rules of thumbs or what some call ‘heuristics’ to guide us in our interventions.

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What's the difference between Mediation and Toxic Triangulation?

What's the difference between Mediation and Toxic Triangulation?

The tendency to deflect responsibility is common in the workplace with employees blaming others while ignoring their own contribution to a problem. And when they are unable to address their challenge directly themselves, they often turn to third parties-typically those with some power to address the situation in their favor. Their narrative may reveal a victim mentality. Regardless, they want their perspective validated and something done.
 
If your company has an 'open door policy' employees may go above their supervisors head to address their concerns with someone higher up the chain of command. And from time to time employees do go to HR.
 
This is where you have to be careful, as there is a thin line between actions that are helpful and those that are not! 

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How positive do we need to be in our relationships?

How positive do we need to be in our relationships?

According to evidence based psychologist, John Gottman, “the ratio of positive to negative affect during conflict in stable relationships is 5:1; in couples headed for divorce, it is 0.8:1!” 

As Gottman points out, this does not require that we declare war on negative emotions. All emotions have value when we view them as sources of decision making information to navigate life. In fact, without them, we would be rudderless! 

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9 Early Warning Signs of Workplace Conflict

9 Early Warning Signs of Workplace Conflict

Conflict doesn't just appear out of nowhere. There are always signs warning that a conflict is developing. Managers who know what these signs are can be more effective leaders by confronting the problem before it rages out of hand. By resolving conflict in the early stages, the company will run much more smoothly and the overall productivity level will be increased considerably. What are these subtle signs of conflict to look for?...

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Top 10 FAQs about an Ombudsman

Top 10 FAQs about an Ombudsman

If you’ve been in business for years and have never heard the term ‘Ombudsman,’ don’t worry, you’re not alone. This weird-sounding word (it’s Swedish for “representative” coined in the 13th century) represents a vital service to organizations in just about every sector of society.

A company finding itself in the midst of a conflict management crisis that is sapping resources, creating a deep rift in the workplace culture and heading toward a legal nightmare, finds out fast how valuable an Ombudsman’s services can be in resolving the conflict and restoring peace and productivity to the organization.

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The Psychology of Conflict in the Workplace

The Psychology of Conflict in the Workplace

Many of us spend at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in the company of this group of people known as our workplace. To understand how conflict shows up in the workplace, consider this: Each of us is shaped by experiences as far back as our early childhood, and (often subconsciously) we bring those experiences into our daily lives, and in the workplace, every day.

One can only imagine what each of us is bringing to the collective table that we can’t possibly know or understand in the other, let alone in ourselves! Is it any wonder conflict happens?

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Bullet Proof Your Team Dynamic - Measure It!

Bullet Proof Your Team Dynamic - Measure It!

So, who in the world wants to really see what their team dynamic looks like by holding up a big mirror? Fast paced, mission driven teams who know that even with the best idea in the world, without a great team dynamic, they’ve got nothing. That’s who… We searched for an ideal tool to help teams and team leaders look objectively at themselves in a non-threatening way. We landed on one that is both proven and ideal for small to mid-size teams (2-40 people). We’ve found that when we match this diagnostic tool together with our conflict focused services, the teams improve dramatically as do their results.

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Making an Impact with Feedback

Making an Impact with Feedback

Ever watch one of the talent, dance or voice reality shows? As a guilty pleasure, I’ve seen them all at one point and after every performance a panel of celebrity judges gives the performer feedback. Each judge has their own style and some have become infamous (think Simon Cowell and his no-mince opinions and harsh tones). From my perspective, some judges are better than others at structuring and expressing their feedback. The objective should be for the performer to understand what they did well or not so well, what they could do better, and take the advice given. Likewise, there are key guidelines for the person giving feedback to do so effectively.

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Trauma Informed Mediation - Guidance for Mediators and Ombuds Working In Traumatized Communities

Trauma Informed Mediation - Guidance for Mediators and Ombuds Working In Traumatized Communities

For mediators and ombuds working in traumatized communities, it is critical to have an approach that is trauma sensitive and trauma informed. Trauma  is extremely complex and multi-layered. For our purposes we will address only a few essential aspects. These include:

  1. Basic understanding of the nature and effects of trauma
  2. Basic understanding of vicarious or secondary trauma
  3. Basic practices for self care
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The Juice in Hackathons is in the Teams, Not the Ideas

The Juice in Hackathons is in the Teams, Not the Ideas

Hackathons come in all sorts of shapes and sizes these days. From the Food Hack to the Sustainability Hackathon to the classic Hack Whatever-You-Want style event, they can be invigorating. I’ve spent time at several Hackathons this year, both as an observer and an Ombudsman (conflict advisor). From a team dynamics standpoint there aren’t many places where you can watch the entire life cycle of a team (sometimes 30+ teams) in less than 48 hours. It’s like watching a bunch of startup companies run themselves through a time machine, only it’s more complex. That’s right, more complex. In this article I’ll briefly explain what I mean from a team dynamics perspective and then pass along some fast and simple steps that will help you get to higher performance with your next team.

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Got Innovation? Quantify your team’s conflict capacity with the Innovation Estimator™

Got Innovation? Quantify your team’s conflict capacity with the Innovation Estimator™

I last wrote about the new Conflict Calculator™ and the benefits of measuring the costs associated with negative conflict outcomes in teams. This time I’d like to focus on the flip side of that equation, the cost to a business for not having a team dynamic that embraces and uses conflict for positive outcomes.

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Got Conflict? Measure the $ Cost with the Conflict Calculator™

Got Conflict? Measure the $ Cost with the Conflict Calculator™

“Show me the money!” After a year of interviews, research, and working on the Resologics model I have heard that statement from many, many people. Business savvy folks want to know what a conflict is actually costing them in real dollars. We set out in early November of 2013 to build a single calculator that would show exactly that.

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Conflict Systems at Work in Startups

Conflict Systems at Work in Startups

Behind most disputes is a system that perpetuates the problem. Uncovering the system will reveal why these negative conflict outcomes keep coming back, and, hopefully, how to fix them for good.

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Conflict Spirals Within Business Teams

Conflict Spirals Within Business Teams

Knowing when you or your team is in a conflict spiral, and how to exit from it, is critical in supporting high performance and consistent growth. The healthy environment in business teams where strong relationships and bold ideas mix and bang together is called the Creative Tension Zone. Teams fall out of the Creative Tension Zone for a variety of reasons.

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Conflict Curve Theory and How It Fits High Potential Startups and Their Investors

Conflict Curve Theory and How It Fits High Potential Startups and Their Investors

The dynamics of people working with each other is complex. The area of strong relationships and extreme idea exchange is called the Creative Tension Zone. Teams fall out of the Creative Tension Zone for a variety of reasons. This article is intended to help you build a greater awareness around the idea that tension can tip into destructive conflict and is predictable. I believe that in any part of our businesses, being as aware as possible of what is happening all around us, in real time, is the key to making good decisions and staying in high growth mode. The last post talked about warning signs that conflict is brewing. Here I’ll broaden that view a little by talking about the Conflict Curve. It’s fascinating!

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Tight Rope Walking 101: High Potential Startups Balance between Creative Tension and Destructive Conflict Every Day

Tight Rope Walking 101: High Potential Startups Balance between Creative Tension and Destructive Conflict Every Day

I have put together and delivered a workshop at several business incubators recently.  I have fun with it because I really enjoy watching the faces of the participants when a piece of information answers a question they have been struggling with for years. What is that question?

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