Have you ever experienced tense moments at work or home when people disagree, over- power, feel intimidated, defend, offend, prove people wrong, prove that they are right, get frustrated or angry and think, say and do things that are hurtful? Yes?!
So have I, and I have definitely contributed to these in different ways. That's why I developed the process below.
By reflecting on my conflicts, I have learned that arguments are hardwired patterns which use up a lot of energy; energy that could otherwise be used to incite the courage and resilience to think of new ways to approach our conflicts. It's hard to do both.
Many of us have fears around conflict because we think that speaking up may cause people to be upset (with us) or even mistreat us or alienate us from a group. For others, their reaction is to seek the upper hand: to win no matter the damage.
In a way, these verbal and mental reactions (avoidance, getting angry) become a zone of comfort: a pattern you are so familiar with that you automatically revert to when you are triggered.
Conflicts have a predictable pattern: a disagreement/misunderstanding leads to a mental trigger, which enlivens a learned pattern of taking an offensive or defensive stance, which creates villain and victim conversations, which results in a winner and a loser.
~Long live the Conflict!~
Another interesting thing about this pattern is that even when you avoid conflict, you still play out this pattern in your head (inner conflict!). And your thoughts will always influence your behaviour.
Have you noticed that too?
Now multiply this effect by each member of your team (family) when there is stress, tension, resistance or the pressure is high.
Since you know that you and your team are bound to experience disagreements and conflicts, mistakes and misunderstandings, let’s create a plan to quickly minimize the harmful effects, through a process called: Clearing (Issues).
This ‘clearing’ process is a practical approach for diffusing unhealthy reactions to conflict and difficult situations so you can stay connected and stay focussed on what matters. This minimizes the ongoing drama that conflict can bring. It allows you to create deeper understanding and trust, and creates the potential for both people to get their needs met at less emotional, financial and time cost.
When teams, couples and families have conflicts, over and over again, it's not that they have had hundreds of different conflicts. They have had the same conflict, hundreds of times.
Being present to what triggers you and others, and taking courageous responsibility for any destructive thoughts and behaviours you have, can completely shift how you receive people and how you are received. Can you imagine if more people took the time to practice this? What stops us?
Try it out. Start your practice today -- right now! Think of your last conflict, answer the questions above, then go have a healthy, courageous conversation and create something new.
Take notice of how this shifts your internal experience and creates a sense of stability in your outerworld.
Are you looking to effect change in your team in an inspiring way? Would you like things to stay healthy and on track through conflicts, pressures and stressful times? In our Ultimate Leadership Experience authentic leaders practice identifying blind spots, and develop the courage to apply new ways of thinking, being and communicating to improve business results and the health of their organization. Click the poster below to learn more.