A closer view at the topics covered in conflict resolution Training, Coaching and Workplace Mediation.
Unmet needs are both the cause and the solution to all conflict.
When we are caught in a blame-game and power struggle, it’s not always easy for us to identify or clearly express our needs or hear another’s.
In fact, when accusations fly, we often interpret another’s needs as either a failure on our part (as a parent, partner, employee or friend), or as an encroachment on our freedom. So instead of moving towards reciprocity and understanding, we tend to want to safeguard ourselves from the win-lose battle we consider we are in.
Being able to identify our own and another’s needs, allows us to achieve a win-win solution by:
- Skilfully steering away from accusations
- De-escalating anger
- Getting to the bottom of the problem
- Seeking mutual understanding
Choice Training offers a set of skills and practices to ensure that needs are clearly identified, expressed and properly heard.
Self-esteem is not a fixed, static state of being – it fluctuates just like a thermometer’s needle or a set of bathroom scales when we stand one them!
Regardless of whether we have a natural tendency towards ‘high’, or ‘low self-esteem’, we still experience an oscillation in our daily lives; depending on how we are feeling, whom we are with, our achievements and circumstances.
Our self-esteem determines our thoughts, communication and behaviour. The level of our self-esteem may lead us to interchange through the roles of ‘Victim’, ‘Rescuer’ and ‘Persecutor’, perhaps even without us being conscious of it.
Learning to manage its fluctuations and understand self-esteem as a tool for conflict resolution, enables us to move towards clearer communication and joint problem-solving.
Power games are the offshoot of our oscillating self-esteem and can be subtle or obvious, conscious or unconscious. Left unaddressed, power games eventually become the modus operandi of a relationship, giving rise to persistent issues and a vicious cycle of words, actions and thoughts.
Learning to address the existence of power games constructively and effectively helps to:
- Open the channels of clearer communication in our social and work environments
- Ensure that everyone is heard without feeling the need to sound like a ‘broken record’
- Stop the vicious cycle of tit-for-tat reactions
- Move from knee-jerk reaction to constructive response
Personal assumptions are like magnets. We repeatedly attract the same situations and play out the same dynamics, based on how we envisage life, the world around us and ourselves.
We might think that “life is a struggle”; that “others are better than us”; or that we ‘always have to defend ourselves’ and our right to be who we are.
Whatever our personal assumptions, three things are true:
- We all have them
- We often share the same ones
- They dictate our behaviour, thoughts and communication and can escalate misunderstandings and conflict
Learning to identify these triggers can help us:
- Change our behaviour and communication by de-escalating our thoughts
- Stop the vicious cycle of tit-for-tat reactions
- Understand other’s behaviour better and open dialogue from another perspective
Anger is no more than a fear and an unmet need lashing out in order to be heard.
Making anger an ally in conflict resolution, enables us to address it differently and get to the root of the problem, quickly and effectively.
N.B. While Choice Trainings look at Anger and how to handle it in ourselves and others, they are not an ‘anger management’ class per se.
We all want empathy. We want people to see things from our perspective; to consider our feelings and our circumstances and to speak to us with respect. So why does it go wrong?
Empathy goes out the window when:
- We are caught in a blame-game and feel the need to defend ourselves
- When we want to be ‘right’ to prove or restore our power
- When we take another’s stance at face value, without considering that it may mask their fears, uncertainties, insecurities and affected self-esteem
At those times we become so driven to defend our position and pride that we don’t consider the impact of our words on others or even the power of our assumptions pulling us onto the collision path.
Choice teaches how to:
- Separate impact from intent
- Identify the hidden emotions in conflict that can lead to clearer communication and win-win outcomes
- Move away from wanting to be right, towards seeking mutual understanding
Better communications in the Workplace
Communication styles and pace
The workplace is like a small city; a melting pot of diverse personalities, ethics and cultures. But sometimes aspects don’t melt and cause clashes instead.
Tensions often arise as a result of differing perceptions of what constitutes acceptable communication, work and interpersonal ethics and behaviour.
Choice Trainings facilitate effective and clearer communication over:
- Preferred communication styles between people
- How to drastically reduce the level of office ‘politics’ and gossip
- How to address differing ethics in an mutually beneficial way
- How to establish an equally satisfactory pace through joint problem-solving
Tensions between management and employees can affect company harmony and productivity. Workload, punctuality, time-pressures and deadlines, are amongst some of the issues that can affect management-employee relations.
The most common issues are:
- Communication styles
Some are more difficult to raise than others and maybe left to fester, or perhaps despite having been voiced there has been little change.
If not properly addressed they give rise to office gossip, cliques, strained relations and absenteeism.
Trainings offer on-the-spot conflict resolution tools and clearer communication skills to ensure that:
- Problems are addressed rather than avoided, ignored or denied
- Tensions are de-escalated before they reach the level of ultimatums and threats
- Cooperation and understanding are restored
Dealing with strong personalities and bullying behaviour
There are many diverse types of personality and some ‘press our buttons’ more than others.
Strong personalities are those who stop the flow of clear communication by being:
- Forceful or bullying
- Evasive and denying (including sulking)
More often than not we put up with those traits, try to ignore them, or we let off steam by discussing their behaviour with others. Both responses give rise to resentment, office gossip and tensions.
Dealing with strong personalities requires clear communication on our part.
Choice Trainings offer communication skills to:
- Open a difficult conversation
- Respond to another’s denial, aggression or refusal to communicate
- Move away from threats and deadlock towards joint problem-solving
- Address and diffuse tensions arising from office gossip and resentment
Great projects can lose steam and group cohesion as a result of work pressure, time-keeping, communication and behaviour styles, to mention a few.
Unclear communication can lead to:
- Power struggles
- Different work pace, attitude and ethics
- Gossip, cliques and resentment
- Communication breakdown
Choice Training offers an effective framework for clear communication that manages and restores team harmony.