When Everyone Accommodates

I am spending this week on vacation with my wife’s family. While I do enjoy interacting with them, the one thing I find the most difficult to deal with is that their go to conflict style is accommodation. Actually, accommodation is their preferred way of trying to prevent conflict. When conflict does happen, typically they retreat to avoidance and talking to everyone about the issue except for the person with whom they have the conflict (but that’s a topic for another blog). The problem with everyone accommodating is that the person coordinating (usually me because I have the most travel experience) gets stuck making all the decisions for the group. So here I am trying to get input and preferences so everyone’s needs are met to get as close to a win-win situation as possible, and all I get for feedback is “we’re fine with anything.” And just to be clear, they are NOT fine with anything. Hopefully, at this point some of you are chuckling because you see similarities in your own relationships and families and as frustrating as it can be I do love these people dearly.

In The Mandt System de-escaltion training approach, we focus first on ways to prevent conflict in the workplace and then on ways to manage workplace conflict when it inevitably occurs. The underlying foundation of this process is the building of healthy relationships and interacting with each other and people served using principles grounded in positive behavior support. This requires us to try to identify everyone’s needs and work together to get as many of those needs met as possible. When people constantly accommodate, they go without their needs met which can cause resentment and conflict, but it can also cause conflict for the person being accommodated as they are then unaware of the other person’s needs which makes it more difficult to work toward solutions which are the best for everyone involved. The task of working to improve the culture within a family or organization is often difficult but can result in significantly improved relationships, communication, and outcomes for everyone. This is not easy work and requires a high level of self-awareness and self-management. For the time we have left together this week, I’m focusing on affirming my feelings and choosing my behaviors and using my “I statements” as I interact within what truly is a family culture of accommodation. Wish me luck!

Doug ZehrVogt, Mandt System Faculty

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