Conflict compe­tence – “Mindset meets Method”

Mindset vs Methods

Sustainable conflict resolu­tion starts in the head

Conflict compe­tence – “isn’t there something from Ratiopharm?”

I’m always surprised when interested custo­mers get in touch with the question: “We’re having massive problems with conflicts in our company right now – can you offer us a one-day workshop?”. For one thing – if conflict compe­tence could be ” gained” in a one-day workshop, why didn’t you book it earlier, all the current hassle could have been saved?!
If I could actually guarantee the “One-Day-Conflict-Wonder” – why doesn’t everyone storm my office?
As you can see, my experi­ence as a trainer and consul­tant has proven to me that sustainable conflict resolu­tion and conflict compe­tence do not simply exist by prescrip­tion. There is more to conflict resolu­tion than simply applying a method – the right mindset is a decisive factor!

Conflict isn’t just when things go bang

If we look at conflicts and their develo­p­ment stages accor­ding to the model of Fried­rich Glasl, there are 3 phases (with 3 stages each) which escalate from “win-win”, via “win-lose” to “lose-lose”. Unfort­u­na­tely, conflicts are often only seen and referred to as such when the thres­hold to “win-lose” is almost reached or even already exceeded. The impact and cost of this on conflict resolu­tion, the “inter­per­sonal climate,” and produc­ti­vity have been addressed in depth in studies by Gallup, KMPG, and others. For the U.S. alone, Gallup (2013) has estimated a loss of $350 billion per year. That’s where defini­tions by Ken Blanchard – “A problem only exists if there is a diffe­rence between what is actually happe­ning and what you desire to be happe­ning.” – and

Conflict is the gap between what you want and what you are experi­en­cing
- Nate Regier

a new dimen­sion. Conflicts are our constant compa­nion, and unresolved not only a problem when they become visible as an open dispute. Conflict compe­tence and conflict resolu­tion cannot start early enough.

Conflict compe­tence begins with head and heart

The best conflict resolu­tion method falls short if it is not accom­pa­nied by the neces­sary mindset. How good is a compro­mise where I meet in the middle between 2 positions compared to the result of a joint struggle for “the best of 2 worlds”?  How sustainable is the renun­cia­tion of one’s own solution – just for “the sake of peace”? What commit­ment can I still expect when I have pushed through my idea against the resis­tance of others?
To solve conflicts sustain­ably requires the willing­ness to struggle with each other for the best solution – or to put it differ­ently: to argue with each other at eye level! The basis for such “together­ness” is a mindset of appre­cia­tion, trust and confi­dence – anchored in head and heart.

“You made me feel bad!” – The sweat­pants of emotional self-determination

Jogginghose vor Wordwolke mit Gefühlsausdrücken

It’s still there – the myth of other-directed feelings.…

The Lager­feld sweat­pants of feeling?

I always cringe when I hear questions like “what did that do to you?” or state­ments à la “you made me very sad …” or “… that makes you feel good!”. And every time I remember the legen­dary saying of fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld …

“Who wears sweat­pants has lost control of his/her life”

Karl Lager­feld

Because I wonder: what’s the diffe­rence between Lagerfeld’s sweat­pants and assuming that something or someone can deter­mine my feelings?

If something or someone can “do” something with my feelings, haven’t I lost self-deter­mi­na­tion over my emotions, my feelings?

Your feelings belong to you – do not leave them to anyone else!

I can BE happy or sad, but nobody can MAKE me happy or sad. Someone can try to cheer me up or to sadden me – whether it works and I am then happy or sad is up to me!

Taibi Kahler has described this as the 4 myths:

    • “You can make me feel good”
    • “You can make me feel bad”
    • “I can make you feel good”
    • “I can make you feel bad”

It all starts with my attitude towards myself

Attitudes toward ourselves and others greatly influence how we will react and feel about state­ments and behavior.

When I say to myself, that I am only OK if I please others, then I will allow others to “make me feel good”. If I don’t think I’m OK myself, then I invite others to “make me feel bad”. When in doubt, I always give in just to keep peace.

If I have the strong belief that I can make others perfect and strong, then I will try to “save” you with unsoli­cited advice, belie­ving that I can “make them feel good”.

If I think others are irrespon­sible and uncom­mitted, I will try to make them “feel bad” to get what I want.

What’s your experience?

What situa­tions invite (you?) to believe even the myth that others can make you feel bad?

What can you change today to regain control over your feelings and behavior?