I will start with a challenge for you. Remember the last time you hesitated to speak your mind in a meeting, because you thought it didn’t matter or you would create an issue. Or the last time you said yes for fear you would disappoint, though it was not your task.
Did you remember? Then you must know what conflict is. Or do you?
Let’s see what Leading out of Drama (LOD) says about it:
Conflict is energy, just like that! This energy is not good or bad, but it is what we choose to do with it, that’s what makes the difference.
To recognize drama and respond in a positive way means, first of all, to be aware of oneself and to be able to make different choices.
Let’s take another example, which is probably familiar: gossip. Gossip is the way people look for complementary positions inside drama. Gossip appears because people look for allies or adversaries so as to maintain the conflict burning and to justify their own actions.
The good news is that anyone can stop contributing to drama reverting to some basic rules of compassion:
- Openness – empathy and understanding the other
- Resourcefulness – being resourceful, hearing the other, while showing your intentions and your curiosity
- Perseverance – set boundaries for yourself and the other, be clear about what’s important to you
What are these strategies in case of gossip? Quite simple. “I want to know more about you. Tell me more about your life now.”, “I would rather talk about something else.”, “I can understand X because…”.
But what happens when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries? Or the “social contract” with you? Different situations, same answer. And same process for that matter – we use compassionate accountability.
It’s that easy to spot drama: gossip, secrets, triangles, alliances, accusations, avoidance…and the list can go on and on. The definition of drama is as follows: “Drama is what happens when people struggle against themselves or one another, consciously or not, to justify their own negative behaviour.”
Let’s talk about the solution once more: compassion and its strategies. We are open about our feelings and ask the other to share their feelings as well, we show our availability (What do you think? What are your suggestions?), we present our limits and we take responsibility.
These are just some of the strategies we can use in order to work with conflict as energy and be productive.
Do you have any other solutions?