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CONFLICT SOLUTIONS PRESENTS:. DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE SEESS Weyburn, Saskatchewan. DEFINING CONFLICT. A state of tension due to a perceived incompatibility of intention; A state of opposition between persons, ideas or interests; To contend and to engage in strife or opposition;

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defining conflict
DEFINING CONFLICT
  • A state of tension due to a perceived incompatibility of intention;
  • A state of opposition between persons, ideas or interests;
  • To contend and to engage in strife or opposition;
  • An expressed struggle between at least two independent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce rewards, and interference from the other party in achieving their goals.
perceptions
PERCEPTIONS
  • Is anyone here a very bad driver?
  • Why is it then, if there are so few bad drivers around, why do you see someone do something bonehead almost every day?
  • What date is this: 3/2/97
  • What about other countries?
choices you can make in conflict
CHOICES YOU CAN MAKE IN CONFLICT
  • You can take no action.
  • You can disengage and walk away.
  • You can change your attitude.
  • You can change the way you deal with difficult people.
components of the conflict
COMPONENTS OF THE CONFLICT
  • The “ISSUE” is the basis for the conflict.
  • The “POSITION” is the stance that you and the other person take respecting a particular issue or point of discussion.
  • The “INTERESTS” are the reasons or motivation a person holds that drives their behavior or supports their position.
interests are defined as
INTERESTS ARE DEFINED AS:
  • Concerns, Hopes, Expectations, Assumptions, Perceptions, Beliefs, Fears, Values, Needs.

Example: Road dispute

Interests uncovered by the application of the “why”, “why not”

and “what else” process.

why such a big deal
“WHY” SUCH A BIG DEAL
  • The word “why” is often construed as a personal challenge to us.
  • Yet, it can be the most powerfully constructive, or powerfully destructive word in our history.
  • “Why” represents an opportunity to bring clarity and collaboration to a situation. A chance to educate a person and provide him/her with a deep respect.
does anyone here know cpr
DOES ANYONE HERE KNOW CPR?

Content:

  • Examine the content of conflict.

Pattern:

  • How many times has this happened before?

Relationship:

  • What is the impact on your relationship with the other person?
content cont
CONTENT cont.

What is the issue that gave rise to the conflict?

Example:

“I can’t believe that you would miss this deadline when you knew how important this project was.”

pattern cont
PATTERN cont.

How many times has this behavior happened?

Pattern = history and history makes a difference to how we interact.

Example:

“Come to think of it, you missed the last three project deadlines.”

relationship cont
RELATIONSHIP cont.
  • How has the content and pattern affected the relationship?
  • Is this affecting trust, the working relationship and our willingness to work together?
  • Often, we miss the pattern and relationship and focus only on content

Example:

“I’m not sure if I can trust you to be

involved in these major projects.”

professionalism
PROFESSIONALISM
  • Professionalism is power: The more verbally aggressive the other person becomes, the more professional you become.
  • Professional language: Language that moves the conflict toward a positive outcome. Goal centred language that always moves us toward voluntary compliance.
  • You become more civil as they become more unruly.

(Verbal Judo concept)

professionalism cont
PROFESSIONALISM cont.
  • Natural language, things that you may normally say in response to anger or aggression, is not goal centred.
  • When you lower your level of professionalism to the level of the other person, you are empowering them. They feel they now have a platform upon which they can justify their bad behaviour.

(Verbal Judo concept)

professional face
PROFESSIONAL FACE

Change your face to suit the situation:

  • Wear a pleasant face when you don’t feel pleasant.
  • Wear a patient face when you don’t feel patient.
  • Wear an interested face when you don’t feel interested.

(Verbal Judo concept)

managing your own emotions
MANAGING YOUR OWN EMOTIONS
  • Anger is the most misunderstood and overused of the human emotions.
  • Anger is a response to an inner emotion and is not a planned action.
  • Feelings that underlie the anger make us feel vulnerable and weak, but anger tends to empower us, at least temporarily and make us feel stronger and in control.
managing your own emotions cont
MANAGING YOUR OWN EMOTIONS cont.
  • Many people use anger as the “default emotion”; regardless of the emotion, we label it anger.
  • Safe to tell people you are angry.
  • From a male perspective, men consider anger to be an acceptable emotion to express, but don’t respond well when other men express anger toward us.
managing your own emotions cont18
MANAGING YOUR OWN EMOTIONS cont.
  • Typically, when faced with an aggressive or angry person, we respond in one of three ways:
    • We fight back, meet their hostility with our own.
    • We give in, so we don’t have to deal with the unpleasantness.
    • We terminate the relationship; walk away or disengage.
managing your own emotions cont19
MANAGING YOUR OWN EMOTIONS cont.
  • Our most fundamental job in this case, is to refrain from responding with one of the three natural responses.
  • We must strive to control ourselves and not give the other person any more reason to be angry.
  • We have to avoid the trap of becoming the enemy.
anger management strategies
ANGER MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
  • Self explore to determine your personal “triggers”. Label them, and own them.
  • Try to understand what is driving the other person’s behaviour.
  • Try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective.
  • Anger creates myopia.
managing emotions in others
MANAGING EMOTIONS IN OTHERS
  • Typically, we take highly unproductive approaches when managing emotions in others.
  • APPROACH #1: Minimize
  • “Your spouse left you? This is really not a big deal at all”.
  • Our INTENT was?
  • Our IMPACT was?
managing emotions in others22
MANAGING EMOTIONS IN OTHERS
  • APPROACH #2: Maximize:
  • “You’ll probably end up living in a dark basement suite somewhere and grow old alone”.
  • Our INTENT was?
  • Our IMPACT was?
managing emotions in others23
MANAGING EMOTIONS IN OTHERS
  • APPROACH #3: Bypass:
  • “Do you think the wind will ever stop blowing down here in Lethbridge?”
  • Our INTENT was?
  • Our IMPACT was?
managing emotions in others24
MANAGING EMOTIONS IN OTHERS
  • APPROACH #4: Problem solve for them
  • “I know a great lawyer you should call, then you can move into my basement and we can hang out all the time. ”
  • Our INTENT was?
  • Our IMPACT was?
managing emotions in others25
MANAGING EMOTIONS IN OTHERS
  • APPROACH #5: Empathize
  • “That has to be a really difficult position you are in. I can imagine this must be a very trying time for you”.
  • Our INTENT was?
  • Our IMPACT was?
clarity in communication
CLARITY IN COMMUNICATION
  • Whenever possible, provide people with an explanation of why you have taken a particular position.
  • We have all been told “Because that’s our policy” which is frustrating to us.
  • People are far more accepting when they understand “why”.
tell yourself a story
TELL YOURSELF A STORY
  • In day to day activities, our experiences follow this pattern:

EVENT…TELL OURSELVES A STORY…FEEL…ACT

  • Most often, we tell ourselves an unhappy story.
  • We make this attribution error because we judge people by their actions and we judge ourselves by our intentions.
tell yourself a story continued
TELL YOURSELF A STORY continued
  • When we consider our own actions, we see and understand the motivations behind our actions, but don’t extend that same courtesy to others.
  • Within this conversation, we often make the incorrect assumption about the other persons intentions. This is often called the “intention invention”.
  • Swimming pool example.
tell yourself a story continued29
TELL YOURSELF A STORY continued
  • We make assumptions over what the other person’s intentions were. Most often, we assume the worst.
  • The truth is that intentions are invisible and we can’t see them.
  • We assume them, based on other people’s behaviours. Intentions are complex, and sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes not related to the

situation at all.

how do we fix the inaccurate story problem
HOW DO WE FIX THE INACCURATE STORY PROBLEM?
  • The solution therefore lies in telling ourselves more complete stories about why people do what they do, or say what they say. Check assumptions before acting.
  • Instead of asking “What’s the matter with that person” it may be prudent to ask “Why would a reasonable, rational and decent person do that?”
  • “What am I missing?”
i see your point
I SEE YOUR POINT
  • In conflict, always try to acknowledge the point that the other person makes.
  • As humans, we have a deep need for recognition, and when we acknowledge what someone says, this is a form of recognition.
  • This also creates a climate for agreement.
nice but
NICE, BUT…..
  • Cancelling statements versus connecting statements.
  • “But” negates what has just been said and sets up an adversarial relationship.
  • “But” is the great eraser.
  • The word “but” often precedes a negative message.
positions versus interests
POSITIONS VERSUS INTERESTS
  • When people negotiate over positions, they tend to entrench themselves in those positions.
  • The more people defend their positions, the more they commit themselves to it.
  • Their ego becomes “one” with their position, which creates an additional need to save face.
  • Positions are always self centered and always a win/lose outcome.
positions versus interests cont
POSITIONS VERSUS INTERESTS cont.
  • Adopting a position is a conscious decision.
  • The interest is the underlying reason they adopted that position.
  • When reasonable people act unreasonably.
  • Positions are not always honorable
  • Interests are most often honorable.
interest exploration
INTEREST EXPLORATION
  • Try not to judge a person by their positions. Rather, seek to understand their interests before making a judgment.

Example: Domestic barricade.

Bank robbers

Gang members

  • In conflict, both sides have their own unique interests, however most often there are common interests that both sides share.

Example: Hostage taker does not want to be

shot, police do not want to shoot him.

common interests
COMMON INTERESTS

Respect Safety Acceptance Consistency Trust Fairness

Validation Acknowledgement Security Belonging Privacy

Appreciation Accountability Responsibility

Interests are what people REALLY

REALLY care about.

Is “money” an interest?

interest exploration37
INTEREST EXPLORATION

When exploring interests, look for:

  • Recurring themes
  • Think about the “heat” behind the words.
  • Acknowledgement Example” “Exactly”, “Bingo”, “Right”
  • Summarize the interests you have uncovered before moving on.
your interests
YOUR INTERESTS
  • At times, people are reluctant to share their interests with you. It is of value to share your interests; modelling the behaviour you are seeking.
  • Depending on your level of trust, you may want to share only a few of your interests, as you don’t want to become vulnerable.
reality testing questions
REALITY TESTING QUESTIONS
  • “What is it you hope is going to happen?”
  • “What is it that you think is likely to happen?”
  • These two questions represent the opposite ends of the consequence spectrum.
boundary setting
BOUNDARY SETTING
  • Establishing appropriate relationship boundaries to maintain respect and maximize the working relationship.
  • We teach people how to treat us.
  • The most effective strategy for boundary setting is the “I” Message.
i messages
“I” MESSAGES
  • When seeking a behavior change, explain in your words how the behavior impacts you.
  • “I” messages are always 100 % accurate and safe.
  • “I” messages take the fight out of your words. They are an expression of “my” truth, not alleged to be “the” truth.
i messages42
“I” MESSAGES
  • You are separating them from the behaviour, and taking responsibility for how the behaviour is impacting you.
  • I feel (emotion) when you (behaviour) and as a result (consequence).
the verbal hit and run artist
THE VERBAL “HIT AND RUN” ARTIST
  • At times, difficult people commit the verbal “Hit and Run” and need to be made accountable for their actions.
  • They dispense a verbal barb, make their point at your expense and move on.
  • Consider the “What did you say?” response.
the difficult person
THE DIFFICULT PERSON
  • When dealing with the difficult person, try to separate the person from the problem.
  • In these situations, we often make concessions on substantive issues in order to “keep the peace”.
  • The difficult person learns that by being difficult, they get what they want.
  • The Child in the supermarket.
the difficult person45
THE DIFFICULT PERSON
  • Don’t “buy” the relationship by giving in on substantive issues.
  • Reach a solution based on principle and not on pressure.
  • Concentrate on the merits of the problem and not on the bullying tactics of the difficult person.
  • Feeding the tiger.
the difficult person46
THE DIFFICULT PERSON
  • Our first negotiation happened immediately after our birth; we cried for food.
  • We learned early on that when we “made a scene” we got what we wanted and this became ingrained in us.
  • We didn’t do it because we were evil or manipulative, rather because

it worked.

the difficult person47
THE DIFFICULT PERSON
  • The difficult person today doesn’t act this way to be evil or manipulative.
  • They act this way, because that strategy works for them.
  • Your job is to “teach them” how to “treat you” appropriately.
is that what you really mean
“IS THAT WHAT YOU REALLY MEAN?”
  • People under the influence (drugs, alcohol, anger, jealousy, rage, fear, anxiety ) seldom mean what they say.
  • When you respond to what they say you are responding to an incorrect message.
  • Example…break and enter victim.
critical skill of defusing
CRITICAL SKILL OF DEFUSING
  • Most important skill learned in this training.
  • Many different strategies used by people.
  • “Calm down” and “You’ll have to relax”.
  • Other terms to avoid:

“Chill out”

“Simmer down”

“Take a Valium”

“Let it go”

“What’s your problem?”

“Whatever”

defusing and de escalating
DEFUSING AND DE-ESCALATING

Highly inflammatory.

  • Represents a criticism of the other person’s behaviour.
  • Implies they have no right to the emotions and feelings they have expressed.
  • Creates an additional problem: The speaker is still angry, but now feels the need to defend their reaction as well.
have you ever tried these
HAVE YOU EVER TRIED THESE?

When engaged with an angry or verbally aggressive person, sometimes we:

  • Defend: “That is not my fault”.
  • Deny: “That’s not true”.
  • Criticize: “You’ve made mistakes as well.
  • Deflect: “That was not my responsibility.
  • Self deprecate: “ I am such an idiot”
  • Over compensate: “I’ll fix it, I am so sorry, I can’t believe that happened.
defusing continued
DEFUSING continued
  • A series of rapid paraphrasing, two or three exchanges.
  • Move with the angry person not against them, as they would expect.
  • Once emotion is calmed, reason returns.
  • Always in their “frame of reference”.
  • Employed until they begin to calm.
reason emotion equilibrium
REASON / EMOTION EQUILIBRIUM
  • When emotion is high, reason is correspondingly low.
  • When a person in an emotional state is given a rational response, you miss them. Emotion too high for reason.
  • It’s not that they won’t listen to you, the reality is, they can’t.
  • Returning to the NFL.
response expectation
RESPONSE EXPECTATION
  • In conflict, people expect a certain and specific response i.e.: anger met with anger.
  • Giving them a different response catches them off guard.
  • Often results in diminished levels of emotion.
issue control
ISSUE CONTROL
  • Keeping the conflict within current parameters,

in the “here and now”.

  • Preventing the conflict from growing and including old issues.

Example: “What can we do, here and now, to resolve this issue?”

other courses i offer for men
OTHER COURSES I OFFER FOR MEN
  • “How To Fill Up the Ice Cube Trays”.
    • Step by Step with slide show demonstration and your opportunity to try this in a controlled environment.
    • Ice cube trays provided with the course.
additional courses
ADDITIONAL COURSES
  • “The Toilet Paper Roll: Solving the mystery”.
  • In this comprehensive full day course, we solve the mystery of “Does it change itself?”
  • Round table discussion and practical demonstration.
more courses for men
MORE COURSES FOR MEN
  • Parallel Parking: Can you be quiet while she does it?
  • Driving simulations and an interactive session to explore this.
  • Support group also offered.
thank you
THANK YOU

FOR YOUR TIME AND ATTENTION

Gary McDougall

Facilitator- Conflict Solutions