Join Fred Kofman for an in-depth discussion in this video Fred and Angeli: Yielding in a constructive way, part of Fred Kofman on Managing Conflict.
- In the case with Angeli, originally she was just listening prefrentially because she was already stuck in the idea that she knew the answer, and that the only reason to listen was to wait until she had the chance to tell the other person what to do. - Most difficult conversations appear difficult because one of the parties, in this case you, feels like, "I have to give you some valuable information, "I'm going to tell you that things are wrong, "and this is going to upset you, "and then you're going to be defensive, "and when you defend, I'll push harder, "and I'll either push hard enough that I break you, "which is a bad thing, because I don't want to work "with someone broken, or I stop pushing and then you win, "and I'm broken because I'm not getting what I want." And that's a horrible conversation.
If you put your hand. If I do this, what do you want to do. - I'm going to push right back. - You immediately push right back, but when you push back, what do you think I'm going to do? - Push back harder. - [Man] And where do we stop? - [Angeli] Still in the middle. - Exactly, so we're spending a lot of energy to do nothing. - Right. - [Man] I mean that's why these conversations seem awfully difficult because when we get into the conflict, it's like I either break you or I get broken, and nobody wants to get broken. Even if you don't want to break the other person, but then it's push and push back, and then a stalemate.
- And you're still in the same spot. - But now you're spending a lot of energy because everybody's working hard to not move. - Right. - [Man] So, one thing that breaks this dynamic is to yield, but yield in a way that's constructive. So, not yielding, I mean if I can show you, if you push and I yield like this, it's like I lost, but if I say, "okay let me understand what do you want.". So there's a slight deviation, like when I asked you the question, "is your day rushed?", and the moment you said, "yes it's rushed, "it's just a lot of work.", I understand.
I love to, this thing about sharpening the saw, it's a slight deviation, it's saying, "yes there is a lot of work, but a lot of work "is an assessment relative to your ability to do the work." So the work is what it is. Is it too much, too little? Maybe for you, it would not be a lot because you're more organized, so you would say, "Hey I can manage 200 cases. No problem. "I mean I have time to go for coffee everyday.". But for her, with her method, and this is what you see, it's maddening because she doesn't have a method to manage that, so she goes crazy, and it is too much work relative to her capacity to do it.
And you would like to help her grow her capacity, but for some reason she's being defensive. But if you think about it, why would anybody do that? You're saying, "Look, I'd like to help you work better, "be less stressed, why would you push back?". Well, she might be sensitive to the sense of accusation. That's what makes the conversation difficult. So the first step of the conversation is to set a problem solving goal, like, "hey we have a shared problem. "You're suffering, I'm suffering. You're rushed, "I don't like you being rushed.
"I have other pains too, which, when I have to do your work, "I'm rushed too because it's not organized.", but without even saying that. - [Angeli] Mhm. - That creates a different background for the conversation. Now let's problem solve.
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