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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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Eat My Words

For this week’s blog I am bringing back one that was popular last year. So, this one is from the archives (originally posted September 26, 2017):

One explanation of expression “eating our words” is “To regret or retract what one has said”.

This phrase often arises after a conflict when we are aware we have said something that contributed adversely to the conversation. Typically, we want to take back what we said, knowing we have already caused hurt and unnecessarily escalated the dispute.

The image of “eating our words” is a strange one when you think about it – letters being consumed and swallowed! It is not likely that we digest them well!!

I suggest that you consider a dispute you were in in which you wish you could have “eaten your words” – taking back what was said – when answering the following questions:

  • What was the situation about?
  • What did you say that you wish you hadn’t?
  • What specific words would you like to take back?
  • What precluded you from withholding what you said?
  • What else might have precluded you from finding other ways to express your words?
  • What was the impact on the other person of the words you used?
  • What was the impact on you of using those words?
  • What would make it especially hard for you to digest the words you wish you hadn’t said (if you were to eat your words)?
  • What words might you have used to express yourself instead of the ones you would now eat?
  • How might you stop yourself in a future dispute from being in a position where you could eat your words afterwards?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?
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Conflict Can Lead to a Heavy Heart

For this week’s blog I am bringing back one that was popular last year. So, this one is from the archives (originally posted September 5, 2017):

Since the 1300s the adjective heavy – referring to the heart – has been used in the sense of “weighed down with grief or sadness”.

Having a ‘heavy heart’ is a vivid expression that most of us can relate to for different reasons. For instance, when our hearts are heavy, as a consequence of conflict, whether we experience sadness, loss, anger or other emotions, there is an immobilizing sense that we are unable to move on. We might feel we are at a standstill that precludes us from thinking clearly, making decisions, problem-solving and so on.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider a time you had a ‘heavy heart’ after a conflict.

  • What was the incident that led you to having a ‘heavy heart’?
  • What specifically resulted in that feeling?
  • If you were to put a weight on the heaviest you feel in pounds/kg, what would that be?
  • What is the heaviest part of that (your answer to the previous question)?
  • If you were to begin to shed some of the weight, which feelings, part of the incident, etc. would you be able to let go of?
  • What do you supposed you would hold onto longest in the heaviness you are experiencing?
  • Why is that (your answer to the previous question)?
  • What do you gain by holding onto the heaviness?
  • What amount of heaviness (in pounds/kg) would you feel if the heaviness was eased for you to be able to move on in peace? What would help – at this point in time – to ease the heavy feelings do you think (if you want to do so)?
  • If heaviness in your heart has lifted at all, what facilitated that?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?
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If You’d Only Told Me

For this week’s blog I am bringing back one that was popular last year. So, this one is from the archives (originally posted July 4, 2017):

One of the reasons conflict sometimes evolves is because we aren’t aware of the reasons someone is upset with us. In these cases, by the time we are told about the situation by the person who feels aggrieved by something we said or did the dynamic between us has become increasingly tense. Our lack of knowing how we caused offence adds to our unsettled feelings. This sort of scenario also gives us a sense of helplessness.

Had we known about the other person’s perspective and experience about us things may not have gone on so far and become as difficult. That is, though we might not have liked what the other person told us, we may have been able to “nip things in the bud” and address matters earlier – before feelings escalated.

These are tough situations and it’s difficult at these times to make sense of why the other person didn’t let us know what we did or what we could have done differently. Perhaps they are afraid to share the problem as they see it; maybe they think things will change without saying anything; or they don’t want to risk offending us. These and other reasons may account for not sharing their views and needs, though not knowing does not provide us with the tools or strategies to know how to respond.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider a conflict situation in which you wished you had known earlier what was ailing the other person before things evolved.

  • What is the situation?
  • What didn’t you know that you wished you had?
  • What impact did not knowing have on you?
  • What do you suppose precluded the other person from sharing this with you?
  • If you had known, what would you have done differently?
  • What difference would that have made to the relationship?
  • What difference would that have made to the issues in dispute?
  • When you have held back telling another person something to which they may react poorly, why did you do so?
  • What difference might it have made to what evolved?
  • What’s the learning here?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?
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Carrying the Weight of Conflict

For this week’s blog I am bringing back one that was popular last year. So, this one is from the archives (originally posted June 6, 2017):

It often seems that we carry a heaviness in ourselves – our hearts, our heads, our whole beings – when we are in conflict with another person. The intensity varies depending on the person, the situation, what was said, how it was said, and any number of other variables that influence the nature and amount of weight we continue to carry. This may be the case whether or not the conflict issues were resolved.

Even though we have trouble shedding the hold the conflict has had on us, we might try to resume the relationship anyway. Other times we ignore the other person, or act as if everything is okay though it isn’t. In any case, there is frequently an underlying hope that things will just get better and the angst will pass. It doesn’t always though.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider a conflict about which you are carrying a weight.

  • What is the situation?
  • How would you describe the heaviness you are carrying?
  • Where are you carrying it?
  • How much would you say the heaviness weighs (in pounds, grams)?
  • What does the weight feel like?
  • If you were to throw out something that is especially heavy and useless to carry, what would be the first thing you would toss?
  • What makes that useless (your answer to the previous question)?
  • If you threw that heavy weight out, what weight would you be left with (in pounds, grams)?
  • What are your unspoken hopes about the conflict?
  • How might you make that happen (your answer to the previous question)?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?
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Expert Interviews for the 10 Toughest Behaviors at Work – Challenging Workplace Behavior Summit

As you know, I’m not in the habit of promoting events on this blog. However, as of late there are some things I thought you may be interested in.

Upcoming NEXT WEEK, you can hear FREE:

Expert Interviews for the 10 Toughest Behaviors at Work – Challenging Workplace Behavior Summit”.

If you’re like my colleagues and organizers of this summit, Pattie Porter and Dan Berstein, you would like to know ways to manage situations like:

  • Workplace Bullying
  • Gender-Based Violence
  • Workplace Incivility
  • Verbal Attacks
  • Workplace Gossip
  • Non-Stop Criticism
  • Time-Sucking Interruptions
  • Hostile Work Environments
  • Passive Aggression
  • Impulsive Reactions

Pattie and Dan spent a year finding ten top global experts to help them understand and manage these ten toughest behaviors that occur in workplaces and they want you to hear what they found out.

Each day NEXT WEEK the organizers will share the expert interviews about these situation – in 2 parts.  Part 1 of every interview focuses on understanding the behavior. Part 2 is all about strategies.

To register for FREE go to www.workbehavior.us/register – all it takes is your e-mail address and you will be informed by the organizers when the programs go live.

NOTE: The summit is FREE from Tuesday, November 13th through Friday, November 16th only (after which there will be a cost).

For more information contact summit@nullmhmediate.com.

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