I don’t like to fight. I can be clear with my opinions, but sometimes when I get resistance, I can compromise to reach consensus. Can’t we all just agree?
I don’t like how that feels. I’ve had that after-the-fact burn when I didn’t stand up for myself. I’ve spent sleepless nights plotting how to turn things around to how I wanted it to go the first time.
I’d like to be poised and articulate in tense moments. That’s why I picked up this book. I was not disappointed. Liane Davey gets it. The Good Fight shares how she learned to take her “conflict avoidant” instincts and become a person willing to have the fight that needs to happen.
It’s not easy. We weasel our way out of it. She calls out the sneaky tactics. I know I’ve cheated and not invited the opposition to a planning meeting. I’ve thought “I already know that person won’t like it, so I’ll go AROUND him and get what I’m looking for.”
She calls this “conflict debt.” It is building up a bunch of baggage that will need to be dealt with eventually. And it doesn’t’ smell better with age.
I know I’ve wasted years of my life avoiding conversations. I’ve left jobs because I couldn’t see a way around it.
This book made me rethink everything. That one co-worker I couldn’t stand for YEARS? What if I’d said something earlier? How would things be different? Even if he didn’t change, I wonder if I would have been happier if I’d spoken and been true to myself.
And what if I tried it in now? That just got real.
Liane has chapters for that. If I’m supposed to start a new habit of facing the conflict, I need some scripts. She has some good ones.
I like the “two truths” where she suggests stating the two viewpoints in conflict.
The customer says they didn’t get the equipment that was shipped.
The warehouse is hot, swearing that they shipped it.
I’m the PM so I call I meeting to come up with our plan. Warehouse is so mad they’re barely speaking. Salesguy is not about to back down.
After some tense discussion I say:
“Our customer says they did not receive the equipment. Warehouse says they shipped it. This can’t be the first time this kind of discrepancy has happened. What was done when this happened before?”
No blame. I stated things clearly. This broke the logjam. We got a plan for action that everyone could agree with.
Here’s what we avoided: months of back and forth finger pointing and business lost because of poor service to our customer.
That’s what developing a conflict habit can do. It’s not impossible. People can learn, and things can change.
I’d like more of that. I’m going to read this book more than once.
Written by Murphy