Common Outlook Consulting Inc. New Perspectives
March 2015 - Issue # 15-03

Founder's Message

In the February issue, we talked about the benefits of learning how to manage Task and Process conflicts. This month we're focusing on how to address Emotional conflicts.

Thankfully, I don't generally have Emotional conflicts with colleagues, but from time to time it happens.  In those situations, I have to pull back and make a conscious decision to put my own ideas aside so that I can hear what the other person is saying - in other words, I have to decide to take a walk in their shoes, and simultaneously challenge what I believe to be true about the situation. I find this to be one of the best ways of opening the door to resolving the situation - and simultaneously I find it can be one of the most difficult things to do - especially when the conflict has triggered something that really matters to me.

Characteristically, there are two impediments that stand in the way. One is the temptation to immediately assume a defensive stance (which - depending on the person or situation - might show up as offensive tactics, by the way). The other is the desire to maintain that stance regardless of the cost. After all, who wants to be proven wrong?

When I am able to take this all-important step back, instead of approaching the person and situation with rigidity and furor, I allow space in my mind for the likelihood of being 'less right' (or maybe completely wrong) about an idea. And, I put Common Outlook's tag line) front and center in my mind: "What you see depends on where you stand".  When I'm able to do this, it makes all the difference.

I hope this month's article makes it easier for you to see things from different perspectives, and gives you the grace to walk in anyone's shoes.




"The route to changing your feelings is through altering your thinking.   
~ Stone, Patton, & Heen in Difficult Conversations 




The heart of resolving emotional conflicts is in your willingness to challenge yourself first before engaging the issue with the other party.


Coming Up  


Next month we examine one of the leading causes of Emotional conflicts: real or perceived threats to "who we are" - our Identity.  Stay tuned for that. 




Resolving Emotional Conflicts              

Emotional conflicts. Wouldn't life be easier without them?

Yes, probably.

But it would also be less real. After all, we are people, not machines.

Time and again we at Common Outlook remind clients (and ourselves) that any organization is nothing more than a collection of people dealing with each other. If we remembered this simple fact more often, we would save ourselves a lot of trouble.

People have good days and bad days, do good things and bad things, do smart things and foolish things, and most importantly, "we the people" have feelings. Whether we like it or not, as human beings, our feelings drive our actions, so we ignore them at our peril.

"Fine then", you say.  We have to deal with (annoying and inconvenient) feelings. Now what?

This is where it gets juicy.

 Read more 


Peter Hiddema


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