Podcast Episode #1 – How to Maintain the Relationship
Posted on January 3, 2020 by Ally Powell
Welcome to Speaking Magic – this program is dedicated to raising your awareness of the communication skills that are critical for building and maintaining good and effective relationships in your career and at home. Here is your host, Leslie Dickson.
“Good Morning, Leslie”
Our theme this week is conflict. A hefty topic that is not only scary, complicated, and challenging, but also a necessity for creativity, innovation, and growth. What we want you to think about as we talk about conflict this week is that it can be a tool for you to build stronger relationships and drive results. Also know that we are talking about conflict management, how to navigate through this difficult landscape as opposed to conflict resolution.
Cause conflict doesn’t really go away. We can’t survive without it, we just need to learn how to manage it effectively.
Luanne, you have had a lot of experience with conflict, both personally and through our teaching and coaching. How do you define conflict?
Well, thank you for the compliment – having experienced a lot of conflict, yes. So how would I define it? You know, it’s really about disagreement – you know, that you see it one way and I see it another, oh and by the way – I’m right and you believe that you are right too. And therein lies the difficulty and the disagreement. You want it one way and I want it another. And what makes it really difficult is in most of these conflict situations that we really truly care about is that I care about you and that’s what makes it so difficult.
The relationship part.
Yes, absolutely! You know that’s why it is so much easier to solve someone else’s problems.
But our own – oh my gosh there is so much emotion involved, so much caring involved, it makes it tough.
Right. What examples do you have that play out in a conflict way – both you know, whether it’s a personal example or even work-related.
Well you know, I think about it from a work-related standpoint and often times it’s about what I believe my job is and you believe your job is and again, our pictures don’t match. You think I should be doing certain things and I think I shouldn’t and if the organization hasn’t clearly defined that there’s fertile ground for conflict and disagreement. And if you and I already don’t have a good relationship, it makes it even worse – makes it even worse. So that comes to mind right away is just lack of clarity in terms of our roles and responsibilities in the workplace. So again, as you mentioned earlier, the pictures aren’t matching around job responsibility.
Yep, absolutely. So another way pictures don’t match is in values. You know, I have a certain set of values you have another set of values – they don’t match – you think it is really okay to treat me one way and I don’t think it’s alright and it might even be that my feelings get hurt and that I feel disrespected as a result of what you do or do not value. And again, fertile ground for disagreement, fertile ground for conflict. Or maybe, you’re in your own bubble, your own island, and for some reason, you function, you operate but you don’t talk to me about it. And so I am left in the dark and I have no idea what you’re doing, what you aren’t doing, how you feel about what you’re doing, how you feel about me and again we have difficulty and conflict.
Communication is key then, being able to just share, get on the same page and get those pictures to match.
Yeah, absolutely. And so if we’re not already talking about the work we’re going to have an even more difficult time talking about the relationship and the struggles that might come with that.
I know another aspect of conflict that is intimidating and even scary – there are a lot of people that shy away from conflict in general. Just by mentioning the word conflict, people cringe. Why do you think people are so afraid of conflict even though, as we mentioned earlier, it’s a part of innovation and growth and creativity?
Well, you know, I’ll go back to what I said earlier which is one of the things that make it so difficult is that I care. I care about you, I care about the relationship, and maybe even if I don’t care about you a whole lot, I at least care about the results that we’re trying to achieve, the rules that we’re trying to achieve, and so because I care, there is a lot on the line and again, it makes it really difficult. And then I think too about the fact that we all like to be and have a bit of control or at least a sense that we are in control of things and when we are in conflict, all of the sudden we realize that we don’t have the kind of control you might link to have. With that lack of control, I get a little bit nervous and a little bit scared you know what if, what if you do something that I’m not expecting. What if, what if when we decide, if we decide to talk about this conflict and when we decide to do that, what if you cry? What if you hate me when we’re done? What if you decide you’re never going to help me on the projects that I need your help with. And again, I feel out of control. It’s uncomfortable and scary.
I know a lot of the clients that I coach talk about change in their businesses, and let’s face it, change is happening so quickly these days. You know, one client struggled with her team moving from offices to cubicles and they were having such a hard time adjusting and the conflict that was coming out of that was huge just because they had to relocate their desks.
Absolutely, and let’s think about it for a minute. If we put ourselves in their shoes, all of the sudden they can no longer hide so if I don’t get along with you, I might of in the past been able to hide in my office or disappear in some way. I can’t anymore.
So it even escalates, not only is it change that that team had to deal with but now they had to deal with actually facing the people that in some cases they aren’t getting along with. How uncomfortable is that?
So a lot of fear associated with conflict.
Yeah, and you know I think we’re afraid sometimes that the what-ifs that we worry about, that keep us awake at night, are the very things that are going to transpire, they’re going to take place and, again, we luminate over it, we think about it, we wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it, we think about it as we drive home at night and we drive in, in the morning – What if, what if, what if, what if. It’s scary.
Very overwhelming, very overwhelming – that sense of “I don’t have the control that I would like to have” to make it work.
And then you know, the flip side of it. You know, we mentioned earlier, conflict is a given, it’s part of our world, we have to deal with it on a regular basis, it is inherent in everything we do. And some conflicts are huge, some of them aren’t so huge, yet we all have to face it to some degree through our lives. But there is that innovation and creativity piece – so why should we embrace this conflict.
Well, you know, when I think of some of the biggest I’ve had in my life, as miserable as I was in the moment, as miserable as the whole thing felt in the moment, it actually took the relationship that I had with that individual or those individuals to a much better place. So we were able to realize that we could in this relationship that we had, that we could move forward and that we got deeper, our relationship got stronger, bigger, there was a greater sense of trust and openness and that’s sometimes where that openness to innovation and creativity really arises, that we are now at a deeper level. So the ability for us to talk about more creative ideas, solutions, innovation.
Wow, I mean that’s pretty big.
So there is a lot of positive that comes with that. You know the other piece, the other positive that comes from this is let’s just say that I’m the kind of person that has a very difficult sharing my thoughts and my concerns with someone that I might be in conflict with. So if in fact I finally stepped up to the plate and actually did it, now all the sudden when I look back I think “Woah, look what I did – Wow, that felt pretty good, I actually had a voice. I said what was on my mind and the other person actually heard me and listened.” So there is a huge wow factor there in terms of that.
Well, and there’s a way to just release it instead of just holding on to it and letting it fester.
Oh, absolutely. You know just like I’ve heard this said before and I laugh sometimes when I think about it but you know, I think that they grow mushrooms in the dark and that’s why mushrooms grow so well in the dark – so yes when we hide our thoughts and our feelings and do not share them, they grow like mushrooms – all over.
All over the place. Absolutely.
Any other thoughts about conflict today, Luanne?
You know, I think when we have the courage to face it, everyone involved in that conflict has a sense of relief. You know, 9 times out of 10, if I’m feeling that things aren’t right with you, you are feeling it too. It takes one of us to have the courage to have the conversation. And once one of us steps up to the plate to do it, we’ve opened the doors for continued conversation, continued interaction, continued resolution of the issues that are on the table.
So we’ve talked a little bit about what it is, why it’s scary. So we know we need to embrace it, but it’s big – it’s a big harry monster sometimes. So how do we break it down into so manageable chunks, some bits, and pieces to actually manage this conflict more effectively?
Tune in tomorrow and find out. We will dig deeper into it.
We appreciate you joining us for this episode of speaking magic. Send us an email or write a review to let us know your thoughts and don’t forget to subscribe and share this program. We look forward to you joining us next time. Thanks!
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