I was recently invited by a group to speak about Conflict Resolution. I enjoyed exploring the topic and presenting what I found. It allowed me to reflect and was well received by the audience so I thought it might be helpful in this format.
Conflict resolution is a way for two or more parties to find a peaceful solution to a disagreement among them.
The disagreement may be personal, financial, political, or emotional.
When a dispute arises, often the best course of action is negotiation to resolve the dispute.
In life there are more head winds than tail winds, so being prepared for different situations, opinions, and personalities is important to mitigate disputes.
This is especially true with entry into a new culture.
Organizations not only have cultures but they contain subcultures which are influenced by the work they share.
Upon entry into a new culture, culture shock can occur. Culture shock can happen when entering into a new organization with an established culture or even moving within departments within the same organization.
Employees are people and people have a need to belong. Some cultures are so unified they exclude new entries, and some will haze new entries prior to admittance.
Some people entering a new organization and adapt they learn the rules of the culture and integrate into it, some will never belong, and others play by the rules while they work to influence changes.
Cultural shock and fitting in are referred to as organizational socialization.
Organizational socialization is a dynamic ongoing process that passes along how the organization wants its people to think, perceive, feel, and behave about their processes. This can change with changes in personnel or when roles within an organization change. A company’s culture isn’t just defined by its policies, systems, procedures and operations but how fairly and consistently it’s leadership enforces them. Then as we discussed previously
there are subcultures that have their own structure rules and followers.
In an attempt to formally socialize employees into a company culture, orientations are utilized. Informal socialization is taut on the job by peer learning is often at odds with corporate intent. When these two integration entries are not aligned discord is more probable.
Discord leads to conflict.
Conflict is an opposing action of incompatible positions: an antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons). A disconnection of interests or desires.
Whatever the root causes of conflict we have to ask – can they be resolved and better yet can they be avoided?
Some conflicts create too great a wound to heal. Understanding this should motivate us to improve our approach for interacting and responding to others.
I believe it is far better to be a person of integrity, honesty, and transparency. I believe in virtue for virtue sake. I am also rational and will say provoking an engagement that could lead to a lifelong unresolved conflict. That kind of liability can be detrimental to anyone, no one needs that kind of threat, no matter how powerful they maybe.
There are times where conflict is forced upon a good person and in those cases we must be willing to stand up for what is right.
Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds. Albert Einstein
Some environments are so toxic we not only need to stand up for ourselves but respect ourselves enough to exit.
Prior to getting to an escalated level of conflict what can we do to prepare for and/or avoid engaging in them?
We can develop our cognitive maturity, leadership skills, coping mechanisms, and our intellect to gain greater capability to avoid or resolve conflict.
Cognitive maturity can be taught or developed but learning doesn’t guarantee that it will be employed in the heat of the exchange.
Will the knowledge translate to the desired behavior or will a human’s default mechanism kick in. When we are attacked we have a sympathetic nervous system that prepares us for fight or flight. Our rational mind has to override these primary reflexes or defaults.
Some people know what to do in a difficult situation and can execute, others find themselves helpless to their emotional triggers.
Emotional triggers can sabotage desired responses, their programmed default trumps their training.
Some people are very manipulative and for selfish reason, pleasure, or advantage they like to manipulate others into an emotional response, to get under their skin.
I am discerning for those who are like this and don’t tolerate them on any team I build. They create discord with their manipulation and subversive bullying.
They like to be the anonymous voice that yells out to insight a crowd, the one who blows things out of proportion to get a more exaggerated response, the one who initiates the gossip.
Others aren’t always the cause sometimes the culprit is found within.
Some emotional responses are self sabotage and can be related to low self esteem or self efficacy.
Emotional responses can also be an avoidance technique as many times leadership will stop asking these people to go above and beyond. This causes an injustice which causes discord in many organizations. Personally I ascribe to rewarding the good and addressing the manipulative, they either will rise up or out. Most leaders don’t want the confrontation or work it takes to manage these kinds of people so what you see more often is the top performers being pushed more and the low performers being avoided.
This makes me wonder -Do emotional responses exist in relation to our cognitive maturity or is it an inverse relationship?
Are emotional responses a part of ETTs.
Emotional thinking traps are a term I coined from my many experiences in ownership, leadership, and military service. ETTs are patterns of thinking that are counterproductive to objective analysis and critical thinking. Objectivity is the clear lens from which truth can be seen and much can be gained. Emotional thinking is a fog that imposes reactions that are not filtered and not conducive to success. They go back to base responses and avoid higher order thinking. We are all intimately familiar with the devastating wake emotional thinking traps can leave. It is always a surprise to me how we keep falling into them. ETTs can be persistent barriers to our self improvement. Developing our mind is one of the influential keys to diminishing the toll ETTs can exact. The mind influences the enterprise of the brain which influences every thought and feeling we have. When the Mind is untrained it falls to immature patterns primal base responses.
Next time you are faced with a difficult situation or antagonistic person who attempts to create potential conflict, pause and slow things down. Step outside yourself to truly analyze what is driving and determining your verbal responses and behavior choices.
In the case of:
Minor infraction – show grace
Medium infraction – listen, discuss and work toward a mutually beneficial outcome
Multiple medium infractions – discuss, negotiate and work toward positive change
A large infraction – attempt negotiations if failed seek justice while removing yourself from the insulting environment.
Have enough respect for yourself not to allow a provoked over response or insult, and not to back down.
I am a warrior, while I believe in forgiveness for some things, I demand justice. DFL
I seek and value harmony, so sometimes I must fight for it. DFL
Author of: Contemplative Growth and Development; Daily Reflective Growth;
Reflections To Success; Exito A Traves Del Pensamiento Logico; Success Through Logical Thinking