The way we approach problem solving influences the solutions we can see — and are willing to see. When problem solving gets stuck, sometimes the best way to get unstuck isn’t to keep searching for better options or downgrade our expectations, but to flip the problem we’re trying to solve.
We all use mental models to make sense of our world and experiences. Mental models are the beliefs, frameworks, mental images, and generalizations we use to understand and explain what's happening. The way we think about people and problems has an important impact on how effectively we solve problems, resolve conflict, and make good decisions.
When we get into a conflict with someone, it’s natural to replay our experience of the conflict, both in our minds and as we tell others about it. Over time, this replay can begin to feel like The Truth About What Happened. But it isn’t.
There are some problems and squabbles that aren’t worth our effort to pursue. Maybe we’re never going to see that person again, or it’s a small enough problem that we know we won’t care about it in a few days, weeks, or months. If your mind keeps chewing on little problems like these, try this brief visualization for letting them go.
We like to think of ourselves as rational beings, and yet we act irrationally in all sorts of ways. One way we act irrationally is with a type of faulty reasoning we use for decisions both large and small, influencing not just the agreements we reach, but also the process we use to reach those agreements.
When we become too wedded to our own solutions, conflict resolution conversations can get pretty stuck. Here’s a trick of the mind to help us stay flexible (even when we’re sure our solution is brilliant), courtesy of Pablo Picasso.
When we notice resistance, a typical response is to try persuading them out of their resistance. But that approach often causes more resistance, as they defend against our pushing. When we want to overcome resistance, there’s a better way.
Are you in a career where the ability to show empathy is important? New research suggests that how you arrive at empathy is as important as being empathetic. And that old adage about developing empathy by walking a mile in their shoes may actually increase your burnout potential.
Conflict resolution skills alone will only get you so far. How well you use those skills depends on your mindset and the habits you cultivate in yourself. Here are five game-changing conflict resolution habits that will help you use your skills optimally.