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  • Behave Reminder for Young Person in Red Sneakers about to make a Step and Join the Party, Top View.

    Quick Tips

    • Identify what triggers negative reactions for you.
    • Identify your intention.
    • Focus on changing some of your specific behaviors.

    How do I make my intentions to be conflict competent a reality?

    Intention rescue.

    Have you made a commitment to hone your conflict resolution skills this year? Are you struggling, even feeling like a failure?   Let me give you a “rescue remedy” for bringing your good intentions to fruition.

    Identify your triggers.

    If a specific statement, action or person creates a conflict response, know this about yourself.  Be aware of what triggers a negative reaction in you.

    Ask some questions.

    Think about a situation or a person which triggers a conflict or negative response for you.  Ask yourself:

    • How do I want to be in this situation?
    • What are the values and beliefs I want to uphold in this situation? Example: “I want to be confident and strong.”

    Make a commitment to your intention.

    Write on card, “I am willing to practice being ___ (value or belief around this situation or person)

    Example:  I am willing to practice being forgiving.

    This act of willingness says a lot about your commitment.

    Translate commitment to behavior.

    Identify the behavior(s) necessary to meet the commitment.

    Example:  I might ask myself, “How do I be forgiving?” 

    Then I look at the behavioral responses I personally have to change in order to be forgiving in this situation:

    • Listening with understanding.
    • Not getting defensive.

    If you find it difficult to identify behaviors to support your intentions, think of what you are not doing when you are not supporting your intentions.

    Example:  When I am not being forgiving….

    • I don’t care what the other person has to say.
    • I interrupt when he or she speaks.
    • I use a terse tone of voice.

    Get a mentor.

    Pick a trusted friend, colleague or coach to give you feedback about how well you are doing in changing behavior.  Have them observe you in the situation and give feedback in the moment or shortly afterward.

    Your Assignment

    In my Texas Conflict Coach® podcast, I suggested an assignment to help make your intentions a reality:

    • Write your intention statement down in the next 24 hours. “I am willing to practice ___.”
    • Identify the behavior changes you need to make in order to make your intention a reality.
    • Practice the behavior changes and get feedback from a trusted mentor.

    To learn more about this topic, listen to the entire episode GOOD INTENTIONS OFTEN PAVE A PATHWAY OF GOLD…TO HELL

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  • Interlinking Hands

    I was looking forward to this long three-day weekend. Relaxing for me during these extended weekends means completing house projects, cleaning, organizing, and exercising.  The periods of time when I was outside of my home interacting with the public I observed a lack of common courtesy that I found concerning. It is especially worrying because of the frustration that appeared to fester because of that missing element of respect between individuals could very easily have escalated into conflict. I felt annoyed on several occasions throughout the weekend that I was able to recognize before I allowed myself to be triggered.

    Merriam-Webster defines common courtesy as, “politeness that people can usually be expected to show.” There were several examples of a lack of common courtesy I observed and experienced over the weekend.

    I was in the car driving with a friend when another vehicle pulled out in front of us and cut us off. My friend beeped the horn to signal that the other car almost caused an accident, yet the other driver did not wave apologetically.  My frustrated friend shook her head and said, ” Some people are so rude. I have half a mind to ride their bumper now.”

    Bernard and I were at Home Depot picking up supplies for our home project. I observed a person trying to maneuver their cart down an aisle and ran into another customer’s cart sitting off to the side and knocked several items of theirs onto the floor. The person whose items were knocked onto the floor was not standing right there but a little further down the aisle. Rather than picking up the items, the person who hit the cart kept going. When the person returned to their cart, they appeared visibly angry shaking their head and mumbling to themselves.

    I am currently training for the Baltimore Half Marathon, a huge running event at the end of October. Over the weekend, when running, I found myself in a game of chicken with a couple walking towards me on a narrow sidewalk. We could have all fit easily if one of them moved to walk behind the other while I passed. Instead, they refused to move, and I ended up running into the busy street next to the sidewalk. The situation angered me as I had found myself in similar incidents often, however, not nearly as dangerous as that one.

    Finally, I observed two people getting to the grocery store checkout line at the same time. One person had about ten items while the other had only a few. The two individuals stood there for a moment looking at each other before the person with the fewer items relented. The person with more groceries didn’t acknowledge the other person.  They just walked ahead putting their groceries on the belt. I watched the person with fewer items roll their eyes and visibly bite their bottom lip as if they were forcing themselves to remain quiet.

    The definition of common courtesy mentions there is an expectation of politeness, so perhaps, the issue lies with our assumption that courtesy is given but isn’t necessarily guaranteed. The examples provided above may not have caused conflict in those moments, but the potential was there.

    What can we do when we feel triggered by other’s lack of common courtesy?

    1. Take a deep breath. Before reacting or engaging, take a deep in through the nose, out through the mouth breath. Just doing that can soothe the mind and the temper.
    2. Be understanding. People are often distracted by whatever is going on in their minds; they may not have noticed that they cut you off, or bumped your cart. Lashing out at someone for a perceived slight that the other person may not be aware of will force them to get defensive and potentially lash out at you.
    3. Manage your expectations. Remember that not everyone is brought up the same way. Recognize that just because you would behave one way doesn’t mean everyone else will behave as you do.
    4. Keep smiling. What I mean is, continue to show other’s courtesy and be respectful. We can show other’s the way by doing it ourselves.

    Have a good week,

    Abigail R.C. McManus, Guest Blogger

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  • u-leg-bridge-1370437_1920 (003)I recently observed two people reconciling after a long period of conflict between them. A breakdown in trust is what prompted the conflict, and now they were trying to determine how to move forward.

    Trust can be a tricky thing. You must have some level of confidence with those you interact with as it is a significant element in most successful encounters. However, if you have faced distrusting people who have left you feeling disappointed or hurt in the past, you may find yourself unwilling or unable to trust.

    In an article on the Beyond Intractability website titled, “Trust and Trust Building” by Roy J. Lewicki and Edward C. Tomlinson they provide a fantastic overview of trust between people.  Roy J. Lewicki and Edward C. Tomlinson explain:

    The need for trust arises from our interdependence with others. We often depend on other people to help us obtain, or at least not to frustrate, the outcomes we value (and they on us). As our interests with others are intertwined, we also must recognize that there is an element of risk involved insofar as we often encounter situations in which we cannot compel the cooperation we seek. Therefore, trust can be very valuable in social interactions.

    What I loved about this overview is that the authors mentioned the risk you take when you are putting your confidence in others, as that is the crux of the whole unspoken arrangement. Are you willing to put your confidence in this person and take the chance that they will come through on their end, whatever or however that may be?

    Trust is involved in all social interaction. A wife and husband have to trust one another to remain faithful to their vows. Friends who share intimate details of their life must have confidence in each other not to share those secrets with anyone else. A boss must trust their employees to do their work. Even minuscule interactions like a mechanic and a customer require some level of trust.

    Which brings me back to the two people I witness reconciling their relationship. Both parties wanted to reconcile and move forward, but once trust has broken down how do you get it back?

    The essential element to rebuilding confidence in one another is communication. Speak openly and honestly about what caused the rift in your relationship. Having the ability to voice your frustrations and hurt feelings to the other person can assist in squashing any possible misunderstandings that developed. It also allows you the ability to feel heard, often we hold onto anger and sadness when we are not given the opportunity to tell the other person how we feel.  In some cases, one or both of you need to apologize. Sometimes a genuine apology is enough to reconcile and move forward. It can also be beneficial to express why you feel reluctant to trust the other person again. By discussing your reservations or theirs, it allows a chance to work with one another in brainstorming solutions to rebuild trust and strategies to address possible issues arising in the future.

    A risk is always present when putting your trust in another person. If everyone is willing to reconcile, knowing how to rebuild trust in your relationship is essential in moving forward.

     

    Abigail R.C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

    Guest Blogger

     

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