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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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Self-Blame in Conflict

It happens for many of us that we take on the whole responsibility of our interpersonal conflicts – to our detriment. Owning our part is healthy and a reflection of conflict mastery. However, there is a good chance we both contributed and when we engage in self-blame, it is important to explore that and why. This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog aims to do so.

There are many reasons we might use self-blame. Low self-esteem, bad behavior that we regret and feel guilty about, feeling bullied to believe we are totally responsible, wanting to excuse the other person for any number of reasons, and so on.

To answer this week’s questions, it is suggested that you bring to mind an interpersonal dispute in which you are primarily blaming yourself for what occurred.

  • What was/is the dispute about?
  • For what are you blaming yourself?
  • For what reasons are you blaming yourself?
  • For what are you not blaming the other person that she or he said or did which contributed to the dissension?
  • What are you gaining from blaming yourself? What are you losing by self-blaming?
  • What need is satisfying your self-blame?
  • If you let go of the self-blame, how would you perceive the dispute differently? How might you perceive the other person differently?
  • If you perceived that both of you contributed to the dispute, what would be different about how you feel now about yourself? About the other person?
  • If it is not a matter of blame at all, but rather a sign of two people struggling to assert what’s important to them, what would you say is important to you in this dispute? What’s important to the other person?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching

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Repurposing Our Conflicts

In the past few years I’m increasingly aware of the use and application of the word “repurposing”. It seems to apply to so many things – repurposing junk, clothes, furniture, gifts and so on. So, why not repurpose conflict?

As I thought about the concept of repurposing conflict, I considered that I don’t always know the real purpose for my conflicts. Do you? We might want to “win” a point about an issue, get our way, defend our viewpoint, assert how and why we disagree with someone else’s perspective, change something that upsets us, and so on. I must admit, I sometimes lose sight of the reason for my upset or underlying need and instead get caught up in the tense dynamic – losing my purpose.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog asks you to bring a conflict to mind as you answer this series of questions:

  • What is the conflict about?
  • What is the purpose of the conflict, from your perspective?
  • What makes the purpose worth fighting about?
  • How might the other person describe the purpose, from her or his perspective?
  • What makes the purpose worth fighting about for her or him?
  • What are you gaining from the conflict?
  • What are you losing from the conflict?
  • If you were to repurpose the conflict, what would its purpose be that you could discuss in a conciliatory way?
  • What specific “junk” from the conflict will you repurpose? What purpose will you give it instead?
  • What makes the repurpose better for you? What makes the repurpose better for the other person?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching

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Replacing Our Conflict Tensions

Some conflicts we have with our co-workers, friends, family and others seem to stay with us. Sometimes they linger long after the dispute is, for all intents and purposes, over. One of the consequences is a continuing distrust of the other person and ongoing feelings such as anger, despair and vulnerability.

If we examine why we do not move past the dispute that appeared to be over or resolved, it helps to find a theme. Is it the same person, the specific trigger point, the values that we perceive are being undermined, the assumptions we are making, the issues and so on?

To become conflict masterful – to be resilient and able to move on from our disputes – it helps to take a close look at the sorts of dynamics that keep them alive in our minds, hearts and souls. It also helps to consider what could replace the thoughts and feelings to help us move on.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog repeats a common theme in conflict (and this blog) about letting go. This time you are invited to add another consideration though – how might you replace the tension and other feelings? Consider a dispute you are holding onto when answering the following questions:

  • What is the dispute about?
  • What feelings are lingering?
  • What is unfinished for you?
  • What do you wish you had said? What do you wish you had asked? What do you wish you had done differently?
  • What else might be keeping you engaged in this conflict?
  • If you were to let go, what emotional baggage would you get rid of?
  • With what positive feelings might you replace those emotions (your answer to the previous question)? With what positive thoughts might you replace your negative ones about the other person?
  • What else might help you move on?
  • When you replace the feelings and thoughts with others and start to let go, what will you think about yourself that will be different?
  • What may you say to the other person such that she or he will realize you have replaced your negative thoughts and feelings with more positive ones?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching

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Maybe, It’s Not As Bad As You Think

There are times when I’ve found myself reacting poorly to something another person says or does and then, discover I misinterpreted their intent. This may have happened to you too and, like I have, end up realizing you have made a big deal out of something that didn’t warrant a negative attribution or reaction.

Why do we do this? I’m not sure. But I think there are times we expect something off-putting from the other person because of our history or unconscious bias. That is, our brains have become primed to interpret the other person’s actions in ways that support our assumptions. Another reason may be we feel guilty about something we ourselves said or did and act out as some sort of justification. These and other reasons might account for a tendency to misinterpret or mis-attribute the other person’s motives.

In this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog, the questions aim to deconstruct the journey taken in a conflict situation to see if another pathway opens up different, less malevolent perspectives.

  • What specifically provokes you about the other person?
  • What impact does that have on you?
  • What reasons have you attributed to the other person for why she or he says or does that?
  • What supports these assumptions about her or him from other experiences, people, etc.?
  • If there are other possible reasons for the person’s deeds or words that are more positive, what might they be?
  • If you have said or done something similar, what reasons have you done so?
  • If your best friend said or did that, what reasons may you attribute to her or him for doing so? How would your reaction be the same? Different?
  • What would make what the other person said or did not as bad as you initially thought?
  • What reasons would you consider forgivable, understandable and feel less upset about?
  • What difference would it make to your relationship with this person if you replaced the negative attributions with more positive ones?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching

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Losing Face

What happens for some of us when we are embroiled in conflict is that we or the other person “lose face”. This expression essentially means being or feeling shamed or humiliated. However, the origin, according to The Phrase Finder reads as follows:

“‘Lose face’ began life in English as a translation of the Chinese phrase ‘tiu lien’. That phrase may also be expressed in English as ‘to suffer public disgrace’, that is, to be unable to show one’s face in public.”

Though it is not necessarily a matter of not wanting to show oneself in public, this notion of losing face can be devastating and have an adverse impact on those experiencing it.

Losing face can arise for any number of reasons and it typically leaves the person feeling ashamed, dejected, wronged, embarrassed, depressed, hopeless and other such negative emotions. As a consequence of losing face, people who feel shamed might withdraw, yield or walk away from a conflict feeling dissatisfied due to no resolution or the opportunity to assert their views sufficiently. They might also become emotional and combative – arguing relentlessly and becoming increasingly aggressive and defensive.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider a time when you lost face in a conflict when answering the following questions:

  • What was the situation?
  • For what reasons did you lose face in that situation?
  • What specifically did the other person say or do that contributed to your experience (if you didn’t answer this in the previous question)?
  • What reasons do/did you attribute to her or him for saying or doing that (your answer to the previous question)?
  • What was the impact on you in that experience (i.e. how did it feel)?
  • How did you respond to the other person?
  • What would someone see if looking at you when you lost face?
  • What do you think you could have done differently, if anything, to prevent losing face?
  • What might work to be able to gain back your face?
  • What will be different on your face when you gain it back? What will you save when you regain your face?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

#conflictcoaching
#conflictmanagementcoaching

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