In the heat of conflict it is much easier to react than to stay grounded and open. We default to defending our position rather than taking responsibility for our part.
We are always playing a role in conflict, whether it is on an overt or subtle level. Owning our 50% takes self-awareness and humility – we must surrender our position and explore how we have contributed to the situation.
Recently a friend was upset that I didn’t get back to her sooner. I told her that from my point of view I didn’t feel a need to rush a response. However, from her point of view it only made sense that I would get back within a day. Instead of looking to strengthen my position through defensiveness, I:
1. Validated her feelings and needs – I understand why you feel that way / Given… I can see why this is important to you.
2. Owned my 50% – I could have made more of an effort to call you. I will remember this in the future.
Because of my openness, she then felt safe to validate my feelings and own her 50%. She said she could learn to create a bit more space and trust that I will get back.
After this conversation, I was reminded how open communication can transform conflict into appreciation and learning. We are always going to bump up against one another. It is our choice whether to treat conflict as a barrier that leads to even more conflict, or as an opportunity to grow in new positive directions.
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Leadership from the Inside Out