The primal roots of blame, defensiveness, and reactivity

Handling blame, defensiveness, and high reactivity during conflict can challenge both the informal mediators and professional conflict resolvers among us. I've found that the "primal lens" for considering possible roots of these behaviors to be really helpful and want to share it with you. Eons ago, being ostracized from your tribe meant, in all probability, death. You'd be left alone to find sustenance and defend yourself against wild animals for whom you were sustenance. It's not hard to … [Read more...]

The simple, everyday habit that will make you better at conflict resolution

Certainty and disinterest are conflict's allies. Conflict resolution has allies, too. Among them are curiosity and genuine interest in the other person's view of the world. It's very difficult to make yourself curious in the midst of stress and difficulty if you do not also have this habit when you are relaxed. If you want to get better at conflict resolution, sometimes it's what you practice outside of conflict that matters (Click to tweet). Last fall I was in a pharmacy in Lyndonville, … [Read more...]

Conflict resolution activities: Pinhole vision exercise

Make a fist with a 1-inch hole in the center, as though you've wrapped your fingers around a broomstick. Go ahead, do it right now. No one's looking. Now hold your slightly opened fist up to one eye like you're Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. Look through the 1-inch hole. How much of your surroundings do you see? If you were to do this while looking at someone across the table from you, how much of them would you see? If someone is near you, try it right now. Now growl … [Read more...]

Practice-building course for mediators and coaches

When I started my full-time conflict management coaching, training, and mediation private practice in 1997, certain questions dogged me more than others. I've noticed those same questions coming up in the graduate marketing course I've taught for two conflict resolution programs. And they come up all the time in workshops with mediators and coaches — even when I'm there to teach something other than practice-building, like advanced mediation or handling high conflict situations. These are … [Read more...]