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Issue 493 - "Control Conflict Calmly."

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 10 Issue 493
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Whether it is at work or home we all at some time get involved in conflicts. The conflict may arise out of a need to provide discipline, a disagreement on how to handle a situation or a disgruntled team member who is angry about a task they have been assigned or their paycheck.
The first step to get a positive outcome out of a conflict is to make sure you respond as opposed to reacting. If the other person is talking with an angry tone, you should use the space between their words and your response to make sure you are using a calm, sincerely friendly tone to let them know you feel badly that they are upset.
If it is an angry email, you should not reply right back with a matching negative tone. You should calmly draft the email response and send it to yourself. Read it the next day and then draft your new response. If you must respond quickly, at least take the time to send the response to yourself and then edit.
Job one in conflict resolution is to calm the tone down. You yell at me and I yell back at you will not end well. Deescalate the situation, don't Escalate it. Coach summed it up this way: "Anger prevents proper thinking and makes you vulnerable."
Communication becomes less effective when you speak with anger and/or question the character or intent of the person with whom you are communicating.
The next step is to seek to understand why the person is upset before you seek to be understood. Listen openly and carefully without thinking about your response. Find and acknowledge the value in some of their ideas and ask how they would like to resolve the situation. Then together, combine the best of their ideas with best of yours and come up with a plan. A conflict can end up being 1-1=0 or 1+1=3. Find the advantage in the disadvantage. When you listen to both sides of the story or the other person's point of view before you respond, your answer will be better received.
Whether it is a conversation at home or a conflict at work, it will be more productive if you remember this great advice from Coach Wooden:
  1. You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.
  2. Learn to disagree without being disagreeable.
  3. Listen if you want to be heard.
  4. What is right is more important than who is right.
  5. End on a positive note.
Write these five items on a card and read them to yourself before you act on conflict resolution.
Do your conflicts end up 1-1=0 or 1+1=3?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



The Handy Man

The handy man about the house
Is old and bent and gray;
Each morning in the yard he toils,
Where all the children play;
Some new task every day he finds,
Some task he loves to do,
The handy man about the house,
Whose work is never through.
The children stand to see him toil,
And watch him mend a chair;
They bring their broken toys to him
He keeps them in repair.
No idle moment Grandpa spends,
But finds some work to do,
And hums a snatch of some old song,
That in his youth he knew.
He builds with wood most wondrous things:
A table for the den,
A music rack to please the girls,
A gun case for the men.
And 'midst his paints and tools he smiles,
And seems as young and gay
As any of the little ones
Who round him run in play.
I stopped to speak with him awhile;
'Oh, tell me, Grandpa, pray,
I said, 'why do you work so hard
Throughout the livelong day?
Your hair is gray, your back is bent,
With weight of years oppressed;
This is the evening of your life—
Why don't you sit and rest?'
'Ah, no,' the old man answered me,
'Although I'm old and gray,
I like to work out here where I
Can watch the children play.
The old have tasks that they must do;
The greatest of my joys
Is working on this shaded porch,
And mending children's toys.'
And as I wandered on, I thought,
Oh, shall I lonely be
When time has powdered white my hair,
And left his mark on me?
Will little children round me play,
Shall I have work to do?
Or shall I be, when age is mine,
Lonely and useless too?

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)






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