Wouldn’t it be great if there were an ad that could promise to sell you the greatest conflict management tool? How much do you think Mandt could make from such a product? Maybe I could market it and sell it on my own and become independently wealthy.
Before you ask me how much it costs and where you can get one, you already own it. Find your nearest mirror because it holds the key to the greatest conflict management tool ever. When you look into a mirror what do you see? You see yourself, correct? Guess what, you are (or at least can learn to be) the greatest conflict management tool.
I have talked with so many people lately who have shared stories of friends or coworkers who have done things that have set people off and/or made a situation worse. We usually can recognize it in others and we can’t seem to understand why they don’t see that their actions are at least partly responsible for the situation. How often do we recognize it in ourselves? How many times do other people watch what we do and wonder why we can’t see what we are doing?
The more each of us can get in touch with ourselves, realize what our hot buttons are, and work towards positive actions rather than reactions, the better we will be at conflict management. When we can be the positive role models for others on how to affirm our feelings and choose our behaviors, then we will be helping ourselves as well as others.
I do realize that this philosophy does not work in all conflict situations. When we are dealing with predatory or pre-planned violence others already have a plan of what potentially violent act they are hoping to carry out. Sometimes we may need more than positive reactions. Other than those situations, which are hopefully rare, building positive, healthy relationships and learning to respond positively to others in ways that build our relationships are the greatest conflict management tool we could have. Keep that mirror handy and keep working!
Dr.Dale Shannon – Director of Instructional Design