2 smart principles for resolving everyday disagreements

January 24, 2017
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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.

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Think with your hands for better problem solving

January 17, 2017
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New research is challenging the notion that thinking, problem solving, and decision making take place strictly in the head. And finally giving me some credibility when placing interactive toys in the middle of my mediation table.

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Before you send that email…

January 10, 2017
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There’s a difference between being justified in your response and the response being a good choice. Here’s a question I’ve found useful for gaining a little psychological distance in the heat of the moment and interrupting a response I might regret later.

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The conflict stories we tell

January 3, 2017
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We tell stories about our conflicts. We tell them to our colleagues, our partners, our friends. Mostly, we tell them to ourselves. And we forget that these stories aren’t the story of the conflict, they’re our story of the conflict.

 

A surprisingly effective substitute for unsolicited advice

December 13, 2016
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Want to break the advice-giving habit but aren’t sure what to do instead? Want someone else to stop giving you unsolicited advice all the time? Here’s a good question to ask in those moments and a simple alternative to giving advice when what they really want is someone to listen.

 

The most influential reads of my year

December 6, 2016
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I read voraciously, a pile of books and articles monthly. Many are interesting and informative, but a few stand out because they influenced my thinking or behavior in a significant way. As I join others in looking back at 2016, here are the standouts that stuck with me and that I ve most frequently mentioned to others.

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Weaving the narrative of a conflict

November 29, 2016
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Conflict takes root in the space between our narrative about what happened and theirs. One way to understand conflict resolution is as the act of weaving a new joint narrative, one that includes the most valuable threads in each story.

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Calming someone down: What not to do

November 22, 2016
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I ve written that anger is a messenger that won t shut up until its message is heard and understood. But if the anger is so big or so loud you can t hear straight, there are things you can do to help someone calm down. And a few things you shouldn t do like these five missteps.

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How to ask questions: A mediator’s guide

November 15, 2016
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Watch a good mediator at work and you ll likely notice that good questions are her stock-in-trade. Watch a masterful negotiator and you ll see the same. If you want better conflict resolution results, learn how to ask questions that shift thinking and prompt fresh ideas.

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Want more self-control during conflict?

November 8, 2016
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Conflict can rob you of two precious mental faculties useful for sorting things out: The ability to view the situation from the other person’s perspective and the ability to check your impulses. New research suggests that your future self can help you recapture those abilities.

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How totalizing makes conflict more grueling

November 1, 2016
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When we deliver or receive information in a totalizing way, we make a difficult conversation needlessly more difficult. Here’s how to resist this type of all-or-nothing thinking and take some of the pain out of disagreements and negative feedback.

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Kintsugi and the art of mending relationship conflict

October 25, 2016
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Conflict in personal, professional and business relationships leaves permanent cracks and breaks behind. What if, instead of trying to ignore or hide the damage, we revered it, understanding that better than new is more valuable than “good as new”?

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5 impactful phrases to interrupt yelling

October 18, 2016
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Some people do conflict loudly, whether due to familial or cultural roots, habit, or a low boiling point. When you want to interrupt someone’s habitual yelling during conflict, try to make the request without contributing to the fight.

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Real but not true conflict

October 11, 2016
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Chronic or unresolved conflict can trigger us to react based on what has happened in the past even when the present circumstances don’t warrant that reaction. In those instances, the conflict may be very real but not entirely true.

Friction at work? Remember the Ben Franklin Effect

October 4, 2016
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When friction enters a working relationship, sometimes the best path through isn t to talk it out. Sometimes the best path through is an indirect one ask for a favor. Here s how the Ben Franklin Effect works.

The key to handling arguments about respect

September 27, 2016
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Feeling dissed? Here’s how to raise concerns about disrespect in a way that increases dialogue and decreases pushback.

A relationship conflict resolution tool you want for your toolbox

September 20, 2016
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Thinking about the future helps couples overcome relationship conflict and view the situation in a more reasoned and positive light, according to new research. Here’s how to use the researchers’ simple mental exercise to create psychological distance from a conflict and dial down the heat of an argument.

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Don’t bury anger’s lede

September 13, 2016
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During conflict, focusing mostly on anger's behavior instead of on anger's real message is like burying the lede in a news story.

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3 everyday practices for becoming a better listener

September 6, 2016
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You don’t get better at listening during conflict by practicing during conflict. You get better at listening during conflict by practicing outside of conflict, where the stakes are lower and it’s easier to be on top of your game. Here are three easy ways to practice giving your full attention and being a good listener

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Resolve conflict better in 30-second increments

August 30, 2016
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Strengthening your conflict resolution chops isn’t about learning a new skill and then trying to use it in your most difficult conversations. Just as you wouldn’t start running and try a marathon the following week, acquiring more successful conflict resolution habits is about a slow, steady build. Start with 30-second chunks.

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The art of dealing with insults

August 23, 2016
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This traditional Zen koan, or story, is called The Gift of Insults.

How to navigate the “not my problem” problem

August 16, 2016
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“That’s not my problem” are four of the most frustrating words to hear when you’re trying to talk through a conflict. They’re dismissive and may leave you feeling powerless to resolve the problem. Here are three tried-and-true ways to get problem-solving moving forward again.

A quick little phrase to stop bickering in its tracks

August 9, 2016
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Bickering, an argument about trivial matters, is one of those everyday bad habits that feeds the growth of destructive conflict in a relationship. When you teach yourself how to stop getting sucked into bickering, you give yourself and your relationship some fresh air. Here s a short phrase that can help.

5 uncomplicated ways to gain psychological distance during conflict

August 2, 2016
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When you’re stuck on a problem or feeling angry, briefly distancing yourself psychologically from the current circumstances can give you emotional relief and actually help you solve the problem. Here are five simple and potent ways to gain psychological distance (and help others do the same) when you’re spinning your wheels in a conflict conversation.

Starting a difficult conversation

July 26, 2016
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Starting a difficult conversation (or negotiation or mediation) can feel like opening Fibber McGee’s closet — chaotic, overwhelming, and hope-sucking. But don’t run.

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How to confront without being confrontational

July 19, 2016
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Confronting is an essential negotiation, conflict resolution, and problem-solving skill. Being confrontational, though, will usually do you more harm then help. Here’s a mediator’s tip for how to confront someone and raise an issue for discussion without being aggressive or argumentative.

Surviving the conflict groan zone

July 12, 2016
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Resolving conflict and other complex problems demands that we push beyond the familiar options and explore new territory. But leaving the familiar behind is uncomfortable and sometimes unpleasant. Even so, staying in the “groan zone” and doing the important work there leads to better results.

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Managing difficult behavior

July 5, 2016
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When responding to someone else s difficult behavior during conflict, a good rule of thumb is, Use the lowest level of intervention first. Here s why this convention is useful for managing difficult behavior and a concrete example to illustrate.

Is non-verbal communication all it’s cracked up to be?

June 28, 2016
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For decades, non-verbal communication has been lauded as an important part of establishing connection and understanding with others. Now a new study suggests non-verbals aren’t as key as we think.

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How to practice a new behavior using rubber bands

June 21, 2016
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When I wanted to curb my habit of interrupting my husband, I turned to an old rubber band trick for practicing the replacement behavior (wait until he finishes his sentence, count to two, then speak) enough to make it stick. Here are the simple instructions and some uses.

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Examples of behaviors you can practice with this method

Dealing with difficult people

June 14, 2016
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One of the most frequent questions I’m asked in my workshops is how to deal with difficult people. Here’s my strategy for dealing with difficult people and why it so consistently works.

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De-escalating loud, angry conflict

June 7, 2016
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When someone is angry and loud, trying to control them is not only an exercise in futility, but can also have an unintended consequence it can escalate them. Here s one powerful alternative.

Common conflict resolution terms

May 31, 2016
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A dispute is not the same as a conflict. Mediation is different from facilitation. Here's the language I use when asked to define these terms.

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9 ways to defeat cognitive overload during conflict resolution

May 24, 2016
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How to reduce cognitive load during conflict resolution and free up working memory needed for concentration, reasoning and decision making.

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On holding the space during conflict

May 17, 2016
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What does it mean to hold the space for someone who s trying to get somewhere different in a conflict? And how do we hold that space, whether we re a friend trying to help, a manager trying to intervene, or a mediator trying to find a path to resolution? To illustrate, I'm sharing a beautiful story from writer, teacher, and social activist Parker Palmer.

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Establishing relationships, Maori style

May 10, 2016
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Whakawhanaungatanga is a Māori process for establishing relationships. In the following interview I explore the tradition, identity, trust-building, and conflict resolution with Hilary Unwin, a mediator with the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, and Pereri Hathaway, senior administrator with the Human Rights Commission. Pereri's work centers on helping the Commission work with indigenous peoples in New Zealand and finding ways to provide support for indigenous peoples there and around the world.

The conversation begins with Hilary and Pereri introducing themselves and giving you a first glimpse of the whakawhanaungatanga process. I hope you'll enjoy our exploration of identity, connection, trust, family, and our place in the world.

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Making peace with the groan zone

May 3, 2016
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The groan zone is that uneasy, messy stage of conflict where it's hard to see that anything good is going to come. Don't hurry out of it.

The 6 ingredients of an effective apology

April 26, 2016
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New research has identified six elements to an apology, and the more of those elements you include, the more effective your apology. But not all six elements are equally valuable. Two are particularly crucial to having your apology accepted.

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A loving note to my mediation clients

April 19, 2016
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My friend, there are some things I want to say about mediation with me, things I hope you’ll ponder before we gather, things I hope will guide you as we talk. I may mention them a time or two during our time together.

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Moving on after conflict

April 12, 2016
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Even after a dispute is resolved, conflict and tension can linger. Even when you ve made every effort to resolve a conflict, the other person may seem stuck in it still. Is there anything you can do when someone you live, work with, or serve doesn t seem to be moving on after conflict? There is, but first, you need to understand why.

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Overcoming resistance

April 5, 2016
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How do you reduce resistance? What are the best ways to handle difficult people? What tactics overcome impasse? How can you get someone to ___? These questions all have something in common: They position you to work on someone, instead of with them. What if we revoked our self-appointed permission to work on other people, and pushed ourselves to work with them instead? And what would it mean for the way we act and speak and manage and mediate?

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How to influence behavior with questions

March 29, 2016
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Positive affirmations may popular, but if you want to influence behavior, questions trump statements. But not just any old questions. Two types of questions in particular can create powerful psychological leverage for changing your own and others’ behavior.

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Responding to negative feedback

March 22, 2016
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What makes negative feedback palatable and what makes it harder to digest? In my public life as a mediator, author, speaker and blogger, it comes down to this: The kindness of the delivery.

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Increasing empathy during conflict

March 15, 2016
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The stress of conflict has ramifications we re only just beginning to understand: We can apparently catch someone else s stress physiologically. Acute stress can desensitize us to another s pain. And stress from the presence of a stranger may reduce the ability to empathize. But 15 minutes of shared experience might just help.

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Small caring actions to ease suffering in conflict

March 8, 2016
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Conflict and suffering are confederates working in painful alliance, each feeding the other as if to ensure its own continued existence. If I turn away from the suffering in conflict, I deny a part of my clients’ experience. If I try to fix suffering, I assume a task that is not really mine to shoulder. Here's one way I've found it helpful to think about, respond to, and help ease suffering.

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Design thinking in conflict resolution

March 1, 2016
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Design thinking is helping designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs solve problems more successfully and develop better products. Here’s how conflict resolvers can use one of design thinking’s most powerful steps to achieve better outcomes.

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Cornering in conflict: Keeping out of conflict corners

February 23, 2016
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It’s tempting to feel triumphant when we successfully back our nemesis into a figurative corner. But it’s ill-advised triumph. Cornering triggers our evolutionary baggage, leads to outcomes unlikely to stand the test of time, and leaves all sorts of debris in the personal or working relationship. Here are ways to address and prevent cornering in your own and others' conflicts.

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Your memory about what really happened is probably wrong

February 16, 2016
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Memory doesn’t exist to help us perfectly recall things in our lives. It’s there to help us survive. And to do its job properly, memory must evolve. Here’s a quick recap of the ways memory is flawed and why arguing about the accuracy of memories is like running on a gerbil wheel and expecting to […] The post Your memory about what really happened is probably wrong was written by Tammy Lenski and appeared first on Tammy Lenski.

Quick to blame but slower to give credit?

February 9, 2016
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When an action has bad impact, how you think about that impact can play a significant role in triggering and escalating blame and conflict. And despite how rational you believe you are, there’s a thinking error that can lead you down a very irrational path. It’s called the Knobe Effect.

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How to email someone after a falling out

February 2, 2016
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What’s the best way to re-establish communication with someone after a falling out? Here’s how to write an email that will help you reconnect after no contact and set the stage for talking in person or by phone.

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