Enter 2018, fireworks on a revving motor Anyone else feeling inundated with endless stories of unsavoury behaviour? January enflames as if Santa delivered lumps of coal named rocket, collusion, accusation,… Read more Three hopeful truths for 2018 →
Seventeen years ago, I wrote a novel about a Conflict Manager. For the past sixteen years, I’ve been editing it. My interest is in Conflict Managers’ thought processes as we… Read more Does conflict competence make a good story? →
Question posed: I asked an acquaintance why he did something (he even admitted it was obviously stupid). He accused me of being judgmental, stormed away, and won’t speak to me. What did I do wrong? Answer: When emotions are high, ‘why’ is almost always the wrong question to ask. It’s when emotions are calm and supportive that ‘why’ shows interest in someone’s thoughts and feelings. Here’s why ‘why’ should be used with caution:
Question posed: Two people in the office had a disagreement about a work assignment, which is challenging for the office manager. How do they fix the communication break down between those two so the work flows seamlessly again? Answer: Sounds like there’s more than one conflict in your office. In my conflict analysis I’d include the two employees’ work issues, communication issues, supervision issues, and also any barriers the office manager perceives to supervising. Let’s sort some of that:
How do we know what another person intends? Theory of Mind is something most conflict resolvers know about while perhaps not knowing that it’s called Theory of Mind. It refers to how a person knows what someone else’s intentions are. This belief that we can know someone else’s private unspoken intention, and judge the intention as moral or immoral, is the basis for Theory of Mind research.
Question posed: My two siblings are in a conflict and asked me to chose a side, like casting a deciding vote. I said I’m neutral, which upset them both. I have an opinion on who’s correct, but don’t want to get involved. Should I tell them my decision? Answer: It must feel like whatever you chose to do, you lose. You’ve tried three options: to steer clear, be neutral, and offer an opinion, none of which they accepted. They won’t retreat from their one option of you choosing, which you’ve refused… Read more It Depends: Finding balance in conflict →