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Productive Conflict Behaviour can’t happen without Conflict Competence.

The very talented gentleman behind this thinking is Craig Runde (Conflict Dynamics Profile at Eckerd College in the USA). It forms the basis of a course which Mervyn is accredited to teach. Further details are in the “Training” Section on this site.

Conflict Competence is about thinking strategically, rather than reacting blindly, and is illustrated below:

CONSTRUCTIVE RESPONSES

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DESTRUCTIVE RESPONSES

HOT BUTTONS

When people behave like this [below], they really get-my-goat a lot/a little/somewhat:

1. Unreliable
e.g. I understand your concern – I really do. And shall email you by the end of today with a time to discuss over coffee – and then nothing is ever heard about it again.

2. Over analytical
The only difference between being over-analytical and being smartly perceptive is a convincing argument. It is necessary to have good understanding of a matter before narrowing discussions down to problem solving. If a person goes beyond what is needed for accurate interpretation, then that can lead to a paralysis of analysis. Instead of getting on with the business at hand, details are unnecessarily and endlessly deconstructed until over-complication blocks action. Over-analysers don’t like making decisions and use over-analysis to avoid making decisions.

3. Unappreciative
One doesn’t acknowledge a job well done or going the extra mile.

4. Aloof
One is detached from others – with a propensity for unapproachability, snootiness, or superiority.

5. Micro-managing
One exhibits distrust in others’ ability to carry out a job which results in detailed instructions for every step of the process. This often results in excessive progress checks, criticisms of unimportant elements of the work, or disdain for others. If you want something done right, do it yourself is the credo of a micro-manager.

6. Self-centred
One’s attention to a task or discussion at hand is lacking. Everything is about self-aggrandisement. Experience is misinterpreted as perfect and complete universal knowledge. Curious mindedness and a desire to learn, is anathema to self-centredness. I know it all.

7. Abrasive
One is adversarial, rude, aggressive, brusque or uncompromising.

8. Untrustworthy
Respect for confidentiality is lacking. Repeating sensitive information to others without permission wipes out an ability to hear, because nobody wants to talk to an unethical or dishonest person. This applies more so when information is delivered in a skewed, biased, or untrue way.

9. Hostile
Antagonistic, unsympathetic or violent.

Owning one’s own hot buttons is prerequisite for good conflict management. This will help to figure out the best ways to interact with those that irk you the most. If you can respond in a way that is defusing and leads to better interaction, your conflict competence levels will improve.

 

Kellerman: Why do you push her buttons every chance you get?
Lewis: Because it is so easy.
Homicide: Life on the Street [American television series]