An alternative to fight our flight:
- Collaborative conflict resolution is NOT about being nice –about giving in to make the other person happy and avoid conflict.
- Collaboration is about getting what we need, but not at the expense of the other person. If we ignore our own needs, any solution will be tainted by resentment and frustration. Assertion of our own needs is a key component of any collaborative resolution.
- Assertiveness means standing up for your self –without knocking the other person down. We express our feelings, opinions, and wishes directly and respectfully.
- Assertiveness reflects an attitude of mutual respect.
- By speaking up for ourselves we cast aside the role of the passive, powerless victim. We take responsibility for our needs and for the way we allow other to treat us. When we do so without attacking or judging the other person, they are less likely to feel victimized (and to see us as the villain).
- When we remain passive in conflict, we suppress our opinions and needs and feel like the victim.
- Whether to keep the peace or to save ourselves from harm, we allow others to encroach on rights unchallenged.
- Even if we choose to say something, it usually is delivered so tentatively or apologetically that others can hardly be expected to take us seriously.
- After all, if we fail to make our needs important, why should someone else? Our self-esteem suffers and our suppressed emotions may lead to resentment and even revenge (passive-aggressive behaviour).
- Speak up: Don’t worry about being inarticulate and clumsy. Being genuine is more important than being technically correct.
- Just as passive behaviour locks us into the role of victim, aggressive behaviour locks us into the revolving door of hero and villain. Our aggression fans our self-righteousness and call for vengeance. When we’re feeling this way, our ends justify our means and we seek to meet our needs at the expense of the other person.
- We look for control the other person through put-downs, threats, or intimidation.
- We are so fixated on winning the argument that we blind ourselves to our own interests and needs.
- When we’re being aggressive, we deliver our message in a way that leaves no doubt that we see the other person as the villain. They are predictably reluctant to accept this role and feel compelled to defend themselves and their good name. Our message falls on deaf ears. Aggressive behaviour also undermines trust, as people are unlikely to trust us if we attack and judge them.
The Joy of Conflict Resolution: Transforming Victims, Villains and Heroes in the Workplace and at Home by Gary Harper