Skip the casualties

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Many people avoid conflict. In fact, I am most uncomfortable when an issue is hidden and unresolved. That makes my already difficult sleep nearly impossible. But I have long noted how most organizations, and most people, avoid conflict at almost all costs. He explains why we avoid conflict, the common pitfalls we fall into, and how to engage in constructive dialogue. I found myself immediately applying his lessons the very next day after reading the book.

To those not familiar with the internal drama triangle, would you briefly share the model? The Drama Triangle was developed by Dr. Stephen Karpman, a psychiatrist who spent a lot of time working with dysfunctional relationships. He was also an avid basketball fan. In fact, he was the first person to identify the triangle offense.

In drama, people play one or more of three predictable roles: Persecutor, Victim, or Rescuer. Victims give in and become passive in order to avoid conflict. They practice what we call non-consensual helping, creating dependence to boost their own ego. Surprisingly, no.

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Many people play these roles habitually, influenced by past experience, upbringing, certain relationships and personality structure. We define drama as what happens when people misuse the energy of conflict, with or without awareness, to feel justified about their negative behavior. Since justification is the modus operandi in drama, avoiding self-awareness is key. Plus, there are some powerful myths about conflict that derail people from using that energy productively. The good news is that people can learn to recognize their drama roles and chose different behaviors, more healthy ways to deal with conflict.

Would you share one and explain? For example, behind the rescuer is the healthy counterpart — Resourceful. While Rescuing gives people fish, Resourcefulness teaches people how to fish. Both are problem-solvers, but Resourcefulness goes about it with the intent of struggling with others toward mutual benefit, helping raise the overall confidence and competence of the other person in a spirit of dignity.

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What is compassionate ability? Compassion is more than most people think. I believe that compassion without ability gets you nowhere. And ability without compassion gets you alienated. Both are necessary and must be reconciled for the most productive relationships. Once we developed the cycle, we began exploring how to use it. Through trial and error with ourselves and our clients, we discovered that there are three immutable laws of the cycle. Much like laws of thermodynamics, or the law of gravity, we do well to respect them. Openness sets the stage for generative conflict by creating a safe place where true feelings and motives are shared, and we send a clear message that we are worthwhile.

Try breaking this one by asking someone a random question without sharing your motive, e. Rule 2: Movement is necessary, which creates tension, which le to conflict. Each compassion skill is necessary, but not sufficient alone to engage compassionate ability. Doing this, though, inevitably le us, and others, into territory where we are less comfortable and confident. This creates a gap, which le to conflict. Rule 3: The only way forward is forward. There is only one right direction.

Openness paves the way for Resourcefulness, which sets the stage for Persistence, which must be balanced by returning to Openness. And the cycle continues. Skipping or going backwards le to predictable negative consequences that are identifiable in a culture or organization. In Chapter 5 of my book I describe how this cycle follows the same patterns of the rise and fall of civilizations, and we would be wise to learn from it. How does an organizational culture contribute to this positively or negatively? Learning organizations are those that build in adherence to these three rules as part of their culture.

Organizations that follow the compassion cycle support environments that are safe, curious, and consistent where people know they are worthwhile, capable, and able. It is embedded in the policies, procedures, and rules of engagement. Drama-based organizations follow a different set of rules that promote drama. They promote Rescuers.

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What would you say to a new leader who wants to create the most successful, positive leadership environment? Start with yourself.

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Identify your own drama and stop it first. Challenge your myths about conflict. Only when you stop playing by the rules of drama can you positively impact those around you. Next, transform your leadership team so that they are practicing compassionate ability with themselves and each other. Third, attack the drama hot spots. Master these four areas and you can truly make a dent in culture.

thousands of subscribers in the Leadership Insights community for a regular diet of ideas to fuel your success. Disclosure of Material Connection: I may have received one or more of the products or services I have written about for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This article is copyrighted by Skip Prichard, republishing is not permitted. Please share, but don't repost in its entirety.

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Learn the important power of prioritizing sleep Subscribe today and receive a free e-book. You'll find out why high-functioning leaders take their sleep seriously and how you can find your way to satisfying, rejuvenating slumber. Skip Prichard is an accomplished CEO, growth-oriented business leader, and keynote speaker. He is known for his track record of successfully repositioning companies and dramatically improving while improving the corporate culture. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy Disclaimer Permissions Policy. Subscribe today and receive a free e-book. Lead With Compassionate ability Do you avoid conflict at all costs?

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Skip the casualties

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How to Engage in Conflict Without Casualties