Move away from that keyboard.
Conflict resolution podcast: The space between
A conflict resolution podcast about getting better results from our most difficult and important conversations at work and home. "The space between" is the figurative terrain between them and us, between where we are and where we want to be, and between who we are and who we want to be when we’re in a difficult conversation.
It’s hard to get fresh perspective about our situation or the other person when we’re trapped inside a conflict. This simple question is excellent for tempering our certainty, engaging our curiosity, and sparking a shift in perspective when we need it most.
Love is blind.
Sit up straight. You’re missing something.
This classic piece of research offers insight into the way context may influence blame and anger. Picture yourself stepping out to cross this suspension bridge in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Capilano Canyon Bridge is 230 feet high, 450 feet long. And it sways in the breeze. Now imagine that, just as you pass the midpoint […]
Access your good skills when you need them most.
Some debates, arguments, and bickering go on and on, without leading anywhere (except to more frustration). If you find yourself in this kind of debate, or are trying to stop others caught in one, here’s a single question that’s almost magical in its power to help.
No DeLorean needed.
What a good use of 10 minutes.
There’s a space that changes form and scale as we navigate our personal and business relationships. It’s the space between us, narrowing and softening when things are going well, widening and hardening in times of tension. The quality of our relationships, the degree of our happiness, and the success of our solutions are all influenced by The Space Between.
Our solutions are only as good as our understanding of the problem. There’s a good question we can use to help discover a problem’s roots. And we can turn it into an even better question by employing it liberally — more liberally than most of us naturally do. Legendary Toyota executive Taiichi Ohno wanted employees […]
Stop trying to persuade them out of their resistance.
One reason apologies feel hard to offer is that they’re colored by fear — fear of feeling shame, fear of feeling judged, fear of offering an olive branch that is not returned. To apologize, we must find ways to anticipate not only what will go wrong, but what also what could go right.
What would Bart Millar do?
It’s not news that understanding the other person’s key interests is a crucial skill for your negotiation skills toolbox. I knew that when I went into the contract negotiation in the following story…and I almost blew it anyway. It took a question born out of desperation to teach me that some interests can be elusive, […]
There seem to be two routes to empathy. One will tax you more.
The way you deliver feedback can make the difference between instant defensiveness and thoughtful consideration. One way to reduce immediate push-back is to “make it behavioral.” Here’s how to give feedback that’s behavioral and examples to translate the idea into words. An attorney emailed to challenge a piece of my writing about difficult behaviors, saying, […]
Skills alone will only get you so far.
We put people, places, things, and ideas into categories. Categories help us navigate the world and it’s natural to categorize. We categorize in conflict, too. But the tension of conflict increases the chances we’ll make category errors — and category errors can really get in the way of conflict resolution. It’s two o’clock in the […]
Just a trip down memory lane.
SO much better than well-meaning reassurance.
Learn from my pathetic post-grad school salary negotiation.
If you believe someone is aggressive, could they behave more aggressively with you than with others? If someone believes you are a hostile person, are you likely to act more hostile when you interact with them? Yes. It’s called behavioral confirmation and if you’re interested in your own or others’ conflict behavior, it’s worth understanding. […]
What is that bump under the rug?
If 21 minutes of your time could make the difference between a marriage that’s crumbling and a marriage that grows stronger, would you do it? Hell, yeah. The following research-based writing activity can have a remarkably powerful impact on marital conflict. It’s free. It’s simple. And you don’t need anyone’s help to do it. We’ve […]
We seek out allies when we’re in conflict because allies make us feel strong and right and reasonable. But in trying to be helpful, our allies may actually help perpetuate the conflict by boosting our certainty. When we’re being tested by a conflict, what we want isn’t an ally, it’s a loving provocateur.
Anger is a signal, not a defect.
The next time someone declines to take responsibility for words or actions that had a bad impact, don’t immediately assume it’s a flaw in their character. Maybe it’s just their protective brain doing its job. We flip a light switch and the light turns on or off. We experience agency in that moment — the […]
Being able to say no is essential for good day-to-day negotiating. Yet it can evoke anxiety about appearing obstructive, unkind, or unhelpful. If you want a way to keep yourself from saying yes when you really do need to say no, pack this research-supported technique in your toolkit.
Not all disagreements require long talks to resolve them sufficiently. Sometimes you can use a pre-agreed principle to get them done and get on with your day. Here are two worth considering for your workplace team or family.