In the real world, we can all be a little difficult and demanding at times when worried, stressed, or feeling defensive. We can fall victim to our strong reactions, difficult emotions and the subsequent irrational thinking that leads us to be pushy, impatient, or insistent.
Much of our human unhappiness is caused by irrational beliefs and our common tendency to pessimistically generalise events. We categorise a series of irrational beliefs that lead to illogical thinking and unhealthy emotions. These all increase a distorted sense of reality that sets up self-defeating behaviours. And these are the behaviours that impede effective conflict management skills.
Perhaps some of these are familiar to you:
- it’s awful and catastrophic when things don’t go the way I want them to. Someone should fix it;
- I’m driven to achieve, succeed and be thoroughly as competent at whatever I do – so I’m intolerant of fools and mistakes;
- people should do the right thing. If they don’t they are bad, or wicked and they should be blamed and punished;
if something is possibly dangerous, or distressing I should be terribly concerned about it, and I should keep dwelling on it;
- I need approval from virtually every person I meet and I need to avoid disapproval at all costs;
- it’s easier to avoid certain life difficulties and self-responsibilities than to face them;
Most people can find a way to quieten these disruptive thoughts and reframe a more realistic perspective. We usually catch ourselves out thinking irrational thoughts (oops!) and calm ourselves down.
Regain Control, Remain Resilient
‘High conflict’ people don’t have a filter. Their strong need for certainty and attempts to control, push their perceptions towards extreme beliefs.That’s why I developed a strategic framework for recognising and understanding difficult personalities and a skilled framework to regain control with difficult and demanding people.
- Confidence: knowing the strategies that work to engage and manage the relationship and defuse conflict situations;
- Calm: practical strategies to remain calm and solution-focused in tense, or confrontational situations;
- Concise: proactively manage difficult behaviours through a targeted communication process;
- Communicate Clearly: respond effectively to unreasonable and extreme behaviours, including personal attacks, hostile email and social media use;
- Future Choices: end serial complaints and grievances through effective negotiation and strategies to resolve issues; Keep the conversation focused on personal accountability and future outcomes;
- Confide: provide debriefing and support to your team members to become proactive conflict resolvers.