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Showing posts from April, 2014

Rules of Engagement in Conflict--Rule #8

       When I've had to train in difficult environments, I've heard participants denigrate their superiors and the culture of the organization.  There's usually a lot of animosity that's piled up over the course of years, and employees don't mind expressing their dissent.  In fact, dissent and disparagement are the course of conversation for the day--until I have to shut it down.  I've found that some people just like to complain.  They stay in problem mode.  They say things like, "That'll never work.  They don't listen to us.  They don't do what we ask.  We don't trust anything they say."  And on and on it goes.  They contribute only to the negative aspects of the feedback and rarely to anything that yields solutions.  If solutions are proposed, they dismiss them with more derogatory talk.  I've come to learn over the years in dealing with conflict that disagreements devolve into endless bickering because one or both parties d

Rules of Engagement in Conflict--Rule #7

        "You're always late."      "You never have anything nice to say about anybody."      "Are you ever organized?"      These statements are absolutes.  Statements like these ought to ALWAYS be avoided in conflict situations.  The previous statement was one of the few appropriate times you could use words like "always" and "never".  The appropriate times are very few.  Therefore, they should be avoided as often as possible.  Here's why:  most of us are rarely always doing anything or never doing something.  To make such a claim is likely false, and people hate to be lied to or lied on.  To make a blanket statement about someone's behavior--especially if that statement is largely negative--is to create conflict or add to it.  Think about it:  you rarely do anything all the time.  There are few things we never do, but they aren't usually perceived as a criticism.  For instance:  "I never rob old people.&q

Rules of Engagement in Conflict--Rule #6

     In the last post, I mentioned watching your tone.  I'd like to expound upon that recommendation a bit because it's one of the biggest complaints I get from people regarding communications problems.  Therefore, let's establish the next rule:  the sixth rule of engagement in conflict is to consider the tone you set when engaging in discussion.  Conflict arises from people feeling offended by the way they are handled by other people.  The leap from being direct and being perceived as rude is not a large one.  A short, gruff response to a simple question could set off a nasty exchange if one person finds the tone offensive.  Oftentimes, direct people don't realize right away how they sound to others.  Sure, they know they're direct because they've been told so by people they've offended somewhere along the way.  But they don't realize when they've crossed the line until they're already over it.  Here's something important to remember reg

Rules of Engagement in Conflict--Rule #5

     Either you've seen it for yourself or someone has told you about it, but most likely you know about the yelling and screaming that occurs on most of these "reality" shows that have flooded the airways.  These shout-a-thons usually occur between women who are supposed to be friends or at the very least associates.  They lack respect for one another and generally for themselves.  They curse, they accuse, they yell!  That yelling can oftentimes lead to physical altercations.  Which brings me to Rule #5 in the Rules of Engagement in Conflict:  Watch your tone.  No YELLING!!!      Regardless of the relationship, more gets done when people remain civil to one another.  When the tone is harsh and abusive, communications break down.  No one wants to be disrespected and denigrated.  The words are important, but just as important is the tone of those words.  If you are raising the volume during the most tense times of discussion, you've moved out of productive, construc