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Category: Conflict Competence

The power of apology in conflict

This week I witnessed the importance of sincerely offering and graciously accepting an apology. Granted, during times of high emotions, it isn’t always easy to do either. In these two cases, how an apology was offered (or not) and accepted (or not) had the power to change the outcome of the two relationships:

Short term success or long term conflict management?

The cliché often used to get people to take medicine is” ‘short term pain for long term gain’. How Osama bin Ladin was captured is also a cautionary tale about short term gain for long term pain. The CIA used a nurse and doctor to withdraw blood while vaccinating suspects. The DNA confirmed the suspect was indeed there. So, what are the problems with tricking people – in this using a fake medical scenario – to obtain information or data?

High salaries don’t guarantee conflict competence

Even billion dollar deals can fall apart when the highly paid executives doing the negotiating get hurt feelings. Here’s a cautionary tale about the value of doing interest based negotiations, of managing your reactions to another person, and of understanding how to have difficult conversations. If ever you wondered about the importance of relationship building in the high stakes of big business, this is a classic case study:

Hollywood can teach about conflict management

It isn’t often I go to a Hollywood movie and then buy the DVD to show my conflict management students. When Martha, my colleague and friend, suggested we sneak in a matinee of “You Again” I agreed because it was a rainy day and I didn’t have any pressing deadlines. You Again has a terrific cast and comedic script. It’s stereotyped as a chick flick, which is unfortunate. The story is a conflict management equivalent to a work of art. 

Conflict management myths

There are myths we hear about what conflict management is and what a Conflict Manager does. I propose exposing three of those myths. Here are true stories of cases I’ve had, made generic to preserve confidentiality:

What does it mean to be conflict ‘competent’

My motto, the tagline to this website and my Conflict Competence consultancy, is Doing Conflict Better. How do I define those words, especially ‘conflict’, ‘competent’, and ‘better’? I start with an assumption that most people want to be able to handle conflict situations, and that most people already have ideas and skills that allow them to function in conflicts. That’s where ‘better’ fits. No matter how good our ideas and skills, we can always get better: