How to Manage Conflicts w/Louisa Weinstein
Nexum bi-weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in change management.
Hosted by Morten Kamp Andersen
Nexum bi-weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in change management.
Hosted by Morten Kamp Andersen
Conflicts are good. They are opportunities for change. And they can be resolved. Whether you have a fight with your neighbor, a disagreement with your partner or just a frustrating colleague, you can learn a lot from your conflicts. Especially, if you are willing to look inwards.
I speak with Louisa Weinstein, an expert in conflict resolution and the author of The Seven Principles of Conflict Resolution. She will provide us with a framework for conversations as well as tools and techniques that help us resolve conflicts more effectively.
I have collected the three most important takeaways from my conversation with Louisa. It was a really interesting talk; I learned a lot. I hope it inspires you to listen to the full episode.
#1 Identify your patterns of conflict
We all have patterns in our conflicts. Some conflicts come from the same underlying reason, or some towards the same type of person. If you identify those patterns, you can communicate more clearly about your needs or fears. That will help you resolve your conflicts more effectively.
#2 Our most intense conflicts happen when there is a violation of a fundamental need. We often discuss symptoms; you don't clean up after yourself, I want you to spend more time at home, I want to make the presentation - not you. But all that is just symptoms. Behind that is a violation of a fundamental need. Typically, these are what initiate your patterns of conflict.
#3 Structured conversations in small units such as teams and families can prevent conflicts from escalating. It is hard to change the culture around conflicts. Especially if you are in a large organisation. Smaller units are better. A family of five or a team of six. That's where it is possible to change the culture of the conversations we have. In the episode, Louisa guides us through those conversations.
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If you want to know more about change and how to make a change stick, you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google or Stitcher or read more on our website: www.nexum.eu
EP9 - Louisa Weinstein
Sun, 10/18 9:25PM • 40:20
conflict, conversation, resolve, mediator, people, person, situation, manager, deal, understand, organization, happen, feel, recognize, mediation, team, disagreements, work, process, patterns
Morten Andersen, Louisa Weinstein
Morten Andersen 00:05
Hello, and welcome to What Monkeys Do. My name is Morten Kamp Andersen. And this is a podcast about what it takes to make a change and make it stick.
Morten Andersen 00:20
In today's episode of What Monkeys Do, we will look at conflicts and more specifically about how to manage and solve conflicts. I've experienced many conflicts in my life. And some of them were one way conflicts, meaning that I had a conflict with one person, but they didn't know about it, or they didn't care about it. But many other times it's been a two way conflict. So one example was about eight years ago, I was working on a project with a woman. And we disagreed about who was going to give the final presentation to the client about our results. And the presentation was a few months away, and I knew and she knew that we disagreed about this, but we did not take the conversation, we delayed the talk. So it intensified. And we started to talk bad about each other and sabotage each other's work. And in the end, she went behind my back, and she agreed with the client that she was going to give the presentation, I disliked her. And I told most of the people around me, I told my wife at the time, anybody who cared to listen to me. And the funny thing is that now I can see why she might have been right or at least I can see her point of view her perspective. But even though this is eight years ago, I still don't want to admit to her face. I haven't seen it for five years. But if I met her, I still don't want to admit to her face that she might have been right. I mean, it did not end well. Most of us have been in a conflict at work, or at home, or both places, conflicts are just part of life, and some seem to be involved in more conflicts than others. Some seems to be managing these conflicts better than others. But what is the fact is that we all face them once in a while that seems to be universal. My guest today is an expert in mediation and dispute resolution. And hopefully she can help me understand what I should have done eight years ago, with my conflict. She has written the excellent book The Seven Principles of Conflict Resolution, she's set up the Conflict Resolution Center, which is based in London, she has a background in law. Welcome to you, Louisa Weinstein,
Louisa Weinstein 02:31
thank you so much.
Morten Andersen 02:33
I want to start off with understanding what a conflict is. So we use this term for a lot of different things. So disagreements or fights, we have discussions, we have a battles, or disputes or fights or controversies. So it really is something that we use for a big group of words and terminology. So I guess there is a line when you go from seeing things differently to being in a conflict. And I guess that line is very subjective. So I just want to start off with what is the conflict?
Louisa Weinstein 03:02
Well, I'd say that conflict is attention or breach of the rules, whether that is actual or perceived. But I think what's interesting in the question, is that all, you know, an argument about or an irritation about who does the who washes up the tea cup can be a conflict. It's how we see the word conflict. We don't like the word conflict. So conflicts cover pretty much everything. But sometimes we don't want to put the word on it because it feels like it inflames it. So any situation where I disagree with you is a conflict. Is it a bad thing? No. But is conflict a bad thing? Not necessarily.
Morten Andersen 03:41
Okay, so. So conflicts, actually, every time that we disagree about something, it's actually a conflict. And some conflicts are good, because it creates disagreements, and we have a discussion about it, and hopefully, we'll end a better place. And some conflicts are bad, because that destroy relationships, I suppose.
Louisa Weinstein 04:00
I don't think any conflicts are bad. I think conflicts are opportunities for change, always. It's how we deal with them. And sometimes they're so difficult to deal with that they feel really bad. And obviously, when conflicts turn violent, angry, destructive, the outcome of the conflict is bad. But the conflict is not necessarily bad. The conflict just says, I think one way you think another and it's an opportunity for creative change.
Morten Andersen 04:27
I can actually follow that. Because when you put it like that sounds really interesting. But if I have a disagreement with somebody, I'm readily happy to have a meeting with that person and say, okay, we disagree about this, let's have a conversation. If I say in my head that I have a conflict with that person, I'll probably try to avoid it because conflict sounds like something I should stay away from,
Louisa Weinstein 04:47
which is why I need to frame it differently. Often, actually, it's a good idea to recognize that I have a conflict because if I recognize that I have a conflict, then I can start managing and dealing with it. If I don't recognize it I'm trying to push away the fact that there's a conflict, it starts to take over me. And that's when it starts getting out of control.
Morten Andersen 05:06
Hmm. And getting out of control, I guess you can have different levels of conflict, or they can have different levels of intensity. So I have some, let's call them disagreements or conflict where I'm just Okay, I'll deal with that tomorrow. And then I have somewhere I can hardly sleep, and it creates an uneasy feeling in my stomach, and I just don't feel good about.
Louisa Weinstein 05:27
Yes, absolutely. It's the emotional and intellectual response. Sometimes we have both an intellectual and an emotional response. That's often when we can't sleep. Hmm. Sometimes we just have one, we have a visceral response that may have been triggered by something that happened years and years and years ago, maybe eight years ago,
Morten Andersen 05:44
it's actually something if somebody asked me about it, I can still feel the emotion about that conflict. And I also have experiences when I sit at a dinner table, and they have a conflict with their neighbor. And I only need to ask one question, and they will start their sort of speech about how bad that neighbor is, and how ungrateful that neighbor is, and so on. So there are some emotional charged conflicts that really can go on for many years and speak to anyone about it.
Louisa Weinstein 06:14
Yes, even when we're not with those people, we can work away to resolve it, because there's so much that sits around it. And there's, there's so much that we often take into the next conflict, the next situation, because of habit of not having resolved that original situation.
Morten Andersen 06:32
Yes. So in the beginning, I said that conflicts are part of life. And I suppose, with your definition, that every time we disagree about something led to be who should clean up the teacup, then that is a conflict, then I can definitely see how that is part of life. But I am here I'm putting words into your mouth. I probably also believe that you would say that, you know, emotionally charged conflicts are not part of life. So that is conflicts that you haven't resolved properly, or is that is that how I should understand that kind of conflicts?
Louisa Weinstein 07:04
Hmm, I don't I don't know. I think that we carry around a lot of conflict with us a lot of the time, a lot of you know, unresolved tensions, hmm. And some of them affect us. And we aren't aware of them, you know, and also, we're all different. So some of us are quite robust, we're quite comfortable with conflict. And actually, the more we become comfortable with conflict, it's easier to traverse through.
Morten Andersen 07:29
Yes. And conflicts obviously can happen all the time. So they can happen at home. So I haven't I haven't cleaned up my room. And my wife may tell me about it. So you know, that's a kind of conflict. Yeah. But obviously, What Monkeys Do is a podcast about change. And many times when we have a change in the workplace, they are often imposed upon you. So a manager saying now we have to work using teams or office 365, or we have to move into these new officers or something like that. So something is happening, you are imposed a change, and that can create a conflict, I suppose you You must see conflicts like that often in your line of work.
Louisa Weinstein 08:08
Yeah, I think a lot of I think a lot of things happen, I think the first thing that can happen is that something happens with the individual internally, they start to maybe have fear or anxiety about the change, they might reconsider their position in the organization, they may feel unsupported by the organization. And actually, that might be something that is a bit of a pattern for them, or any of the things can be something that they continued feel, you know, I always get taken advantage of I always get. So there are two things that can happen there. Sometimes the individual resolves it themselves and, and how they respond to it is going to is is going to really define what happens next. But and sometimes it needs a conversation with the employer, because sometimes the employer or often, obviously, the employer won't have seen some of the consequences of what's going to happen. Unless there's a conversation about it that says, you know, this isn't working, or I don't like this, the employer won't know. And so the changes often, you know that organizational changes or process changes don't get to happen. And what happens instead is that there are issues between the individuals, and the the functional issue takes quite a while to unravel, because it seems that often, it seems like quite a little thing. But I think that when that happens, it's very important to understand that you're in a conflict situation, because then you cannot identify people's responses. So okay, we're in a conflict situation, someone's avoiding it. Someone's being aggressive about it. Someone wants to talk all day about it. Someone wants to find a quick solution. Someone wants to just say yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, but resentful toward the colleagues. So we must understand that, you know, this is a complex situation and start to observe, you know, how is everyone responding to it? And is that a good response for this situation?
Morten Andersen 09:58
Yes. So A change is happening and may be imposed, that creates some emotions. Fear could be one of them. And fear is actually an an emotion you often see in people when something happens, it may not be the one that they recognize themselves or definitely talk about, but fear could be an emotion that happens. And that can lead to a conflict if not resolved. And a first part of that is for the manager to have a conversation to try to understand what's going on with you. So you are aware whether you are in a conflict situation?
Louisa Weinstein 10:30
I think so. But I would also suggest that it's not that it's also the team need to be equipped to be able to deal with themselves and not conflict. So I might be in a situation where there's a whole load of change going on, I might not have worked out what I feel about that what I think about that, and I don't want to speak to my manager yet, because I'm not yet clear. What would be better is if I could speak to a colleague that is able to peer coach me through the situation, which would enable me to actually think through, do I want to stay in this job? Do I want to continue these things? If I do, then what do I need to do? Are there compromises I need to make? What negotiations Do I have to go through? Yes, effectively, when you're speaking to your manager, you're negotiating the amount of you know, the manager at the board, at the end of the day is going to want you to be happy, yes, but also, for you to perform. So you, the individuals within the team need to be equipped to take responsibility for their responses, otherwise, it continues this kind of patriarchal response to you know, are you okay? Do you know, how can I make it better for you, maybe you need to make it better for yourself. And I need to allow that to happen. But that conversation needs to be managed carefully, I need to give you the tools to have it and not necessarily with me, manager.
Morten Andersen 12:00
Good. So I want to talk about the conversation. So the difficult conversation that you will need to have at some point. So you've acknowledged that there is a conflict. And that's really Principle number one in your book, I guess the first point is you need to recognize there is a conflict here. And either it can be you recognizing that I have a conflict with this person, or it could be a manager, recognizing that there is a conflict in my team between these two people, or whatever it might be. So that's the first thing. The second is you need to try to manage your state also principle two. And you sort of done that. And now you're going to sit down with the person that you have a conflict with. And that's actually a hard thing to do to say, I know you and I we don't see eye to eye on this, we have different perspectives. Are you willing to have a conversation with me about this? Can you maybe go through how how people should manage that process of going to a person suggesting a conversation and and how best to conduct that conversation?
Louisa Weinstein 13:00
The starting point is looking at what are your priorities? And what do you want to get out of the conversation to really consider what you want, and how you think that might that might be achieved? Before you even have a conversation with that other person to consider what they where they might be. And I'd write it out because then you can kind of see it a little bit more clearly. And your negotiation stance. So what are you prepared to move on? And what are you not prepared to move on? So preparation is absolutely everything. And in that what you might find is that you might not have to have a conversation with that person a full blown conversation, you might have a series of conversations, particularly if they're difficult to talk to. Hmm, so the most important thing I think, is to get the hook. So what is the incentive for them to have a conversation? Because if you if I've had tensions with you, and then I say we need to talk about this, the first thing you're going to do is try not to talk about it with me. Hmm. So we need to identify need to identify common interest in needs things that are going to motivate you to have a conversation with me and to be invested in that conversation.
Morten Andersen 14:08
Sometimes that common interest can just be we're not having a good working relationship here or you know, there is tension between us. I don't like it, you don't like it. So just getting rid of that tension. So sometimes it can be about the subject, but sometimes it can also just get rid of that tension as opposed.
Louisa Weinstein 14:23
Yes. Although if you said that to me, I think I'd feel a little bit overwhelmed. Okay, I might just want you to say, how are you? Huh? Have you got 15 minutes, so then I know, it's 15 minutes. I don't have to be with you for that amount of time. I've got to let out. And in that conversation, actually what we're doing, particularly if you want to build the relationship, and I am not sure that I even want to have the conversation. You're building trust and in that you're going to listen to me because actually, I might be such a difficult individual that You need to analyze as well, whether this is going to work for you whether you can actually converse with me and how. So on one hand, you're supporting me to have the conversation, and you're finding out actually what's going on. But you also need to be prepared for what I'm going to come back with all the criticisms I might put on you, you know, you need to be prepared that that might happen. And you need in that first conversation, to be listening really deeply, and just a real sounding board and able to hear, and then take some time to consider it. So when those conversations are hard to have in the first place, make them short, make them time bound.
Morten Andersen 15:36
So short listening, I mean, I suppose that's one of the hardest thing to do is to have sort of that active listening mode on. So and I like that you say, be prepared, because sometimes we often just book a meeting often because we're very busy. But also because you know that we don't consider what's actually at stake here. What do I want to get out of this, but also maybe get into that listening mode. So we have 15 minutes here, I just want to really understand that person's perspective as opposed,
Louisa Weinstein 16:06
yeah, because effectively when you're in a conflict, you're going to have to, at some point, have a negotiation. If you're going to resolve it, you're gonna have to negotiate that conflict. So you need to know how to negotiate, you need to prepare your top and bottom lines, you need to understand their top and bottom lines, you need to understand how to negotiate, what's the negotiation strategy, do you even know. And then you do really need to hear the other person because they are going to have some nuggets that will help you resolve this, that's the thing, we can't resolve a conflict with someone else on our own, we it has to engage the other person. The other thing is, if you have regular focus check ins with people, then it's easier to have those difficult conversations. And there are there are ways to have those conversations. and dare I say, especially remotely in order that those conversations can be both practical, efficient, and enable you to build a relationship.
Morten Andersen 17:01
Sometimes the conflict is with somebody at my own level. And that makes it somewhat easier to go and say, I would like to have a conversation with you, we need to resolve this or, you know, let's let's talk this out. If it's my manager that I have a conflict with, that might be more tricky, because there is a power imbalance simply, what do you do in a situation like that?
Louisa Weinstein 17:22
Well, I think it's really important for managers to equip employees to have those conversations and for employees, or team members to take responsibility for their capacity to have those conversations, again, you're doing the same thing, you are supporting the manager in their conflict with you, you're doing exactly the same thing you are, you're being the grown up. So probably know my book, I love the book Games People Play by Eric Berne, just because I am subordinate to you, it doesn't mean that I have to, you know, act as a child, I can be an adult mode and support you be objective. Listen to you, you know, if I do that I become much more empowered. It's also like the customer service relationship. Okay, you're buying from me, but I can still support you, in your conflict with me. So, you know, if I have an issue with the manager, and I just turn up and listen to where the manager is, but I need to be prepared for what they're going to say. And I need to be clear about where I'm negotiating from as well.
Morten Andersen 18:29
Yes, my own experiences that the more intense and emotional intense a conflict is, the more it is because that there is a fundamental need in me that has been violated. So if I take the if I think about the conflict that I had eight years ago, now on the surface, it looked like that we were in conflict about who should give a presentation, but probably really was a play was that I did not feel that she recognized me for what I could do. So we might go in and have a negotiation about, you know, who should say what in this presentation. But that was really that would probably not have solved it. Because what was really a play was that I did not feel that she recognized the value that I was bringing to our working relationship. So it was a deeper value than the presentation. And maybe we found out that I could give the presentation. But if I still didn't feel that she recognized me, I would have found something else that we would have been in conflict about. So how do you suggest that you have a conversation where you try to find out what fundamental need has been violated here?
Louisa Weinstein 19:42
Right. So you identified that you identified that issue for you that you didn't feel recognized. And I think what I'd ask you is, Has that happened before? Where is it happened? Where is this pattern repeating? And is this something that you're kind of setting her up for almost creating. Because if you feel like you need to be valued by her, then I suppose my question would be, do you value yourself? And where you may be nervous about where you might not be able to deliver to the same degree? And then what do you want to do about that? Because actually, maybe you're concerned about not being able to deliver and maybe you can deliver, but this fear that you can't, and it keeps on holding you back. And I mean, I don't need to teach my grandmother to suck eggs, you know, this can this can be quite deep rooted. I mean, that, you know, can we and the more we recognize, you know, what, I do this with my husband, I do this with my mom, you know, I go into situations, and I don't feel recognized or acknowledged, that's really hard, because then what do I do with that, but it's not the other person's issue. And what I would also say is that there'll be some things that will be going on with her as well. Hmm. And she'll be, you know, playing some some of those games in her head. And, and what's difficult is that when you work out, you know, where your responsibility is, and what the issues are for you. Sometimes you might expect her to have done that, too. And she won't necessarily have done, you know, you need to work out, you know, what your, what your part is where you're, you know, what the challenges are for you personally. And then except that she may not do that as well.
Morten Andersen 21:26
That's really fascinating, because what you're really turning it upside down, in a sense, because what you're saying is that, obviously, my focus is on her and what she's doing wrong and how poor she is. But what you're really saying is that, well two steps back is that you're really saying is that we have a lot of conflicts in our lives. And we have that at work in our home. And that probably patterns in those conflicts. And we can learn a lot from understanding those patterns. So if I just continue this example. So I did not feel that she recognized or valued me, well, I probably have rules for when I feel that somebody is recognizing and valuing me, and I have probably not expressed that to her, I may not even have expressed it to myself. So but if I understand those rules, that what do I need in order for my basic need of feeling recognized? What rules needs to be met in order for that basic needs to be met? If I understand that better, I can better say that to other people and ask for that, which they'll probably give me many times, but I can probably also understand the pattern that I have in my conflicts and therefore avoid some of them.
Louisa Weinstein 22:39
Yeah, that process of, you know, that process of of understanding what I need to feel acknowledged, and to go through a process of being able to communicate that to that other person. Hmm. Wow, that I mean, that's a big thing. Right? That's quite a lot of work. Yes, isn't it? What what a result, you're able to say to people, you know, I'd really appreciate it if you do that. Because you say that you acknowledge me. But I need to hear this in order for you to acknowledge me.
Morten Andersen 23:10
Yes. I as opposed to obviously, now, this is eight years ago, I can look at that incident now is harder to do in the moment, because you're emotionally charged. So maybe finding some of those patterns is something you can do when you're not emotionally charged about something?
Louisa Weinstein 23:25
Well, I don't know. I mean, I love the fact that you brought this example up. And I would suggest that you might look at this example and use it and even find some way to not necessarily say sorry, but revisit it in some way. Kind of amend what happened, you can amend kind of what happened. Yes. And when you've done that the weight that can be lifted from your shoulders, is quite enormous, you know, what you might do is be able to re engage with that other person, or, you know, sometimes what happens is that we suddenly have worked it through and that other person walks down the street and we see them, we suddenly realize, you know, and it doesn't have to be this ground apology, it just needs to be well, you know, I was really thinking about what happened. And I realized that I did this and you know, I would have liked to have done something different. Yes, yes. And then it's on or even if you you know, you can even kind of write a letter to that person and then that helps it not happen again.
Morten Andersen 24:32
Okay, so you obviously have a fantastic experience with conflict mediation resolution, and I want to tap into that experience. So I and also the listeners can learn from what you know. So you've seen where it's probably gone really, really well and where it's gone terribly wrong and, you know, got some experience from that. My question is, you obviously come in and help parties resolve a conflict. The first thing obviously is to get the parties to the table and I want to have that conversation with you. So you can maybe force them into the same room. But if they're sitting with arms crossed and do not want to really engage with you, then you can probably not get so much out of them. So how do you get to the first stage where people actually want to be in that room and want to resolve it?
Louisa Weinstein 25:20
I think it really helps in an organization, if you've got that culture in place where it's normal that, you know, this is the process we go through. And there are various stages before that, but it's not some you know, it's part of the process. You know, we bring in a mediator if we need help to resolve something, or you or you might call them a facilitator, or, you know, sometimes a way that you name the person that's coming in to help resolve things. And you're very clear about the clearer you are about the boundaries in that process, the easier it is. So a mediator coming to mediation is a voluntary process. First of all, the conversations with the mediator are confidential. So although you have to kind of work with confidentiality within a work process, because things might easily slip out, you need to kind of negotiate that confidential confidentiality, and the parties need to believe that the mediator is impartial. So one of the ways to do it is to give the parties an opportunity to have a half an hour conversation with the mediator, before even deciding to mediate. And in that what they effectively have is a conflict coaching situation around conflict coaching conversation around whether or not they want to mediate, and what they want to do if they don't need you. And what it does is provide a little bit of air space to go or the situation's awful, I've been offered mediation, don't want it Okay, fine. You know, the mediator isn't going to force someone into mediation, it doesn't really benefit anyone, you want to support the person to make some decisions so that if they decide not to mediate, it's because they've decided to do something else, and that that's right for them, and or the mediator will help them feel safe.
Morten Andersen 26:59
Yes. So as opposed, if it's in a marriage, often people go to a marriage counselor, often that person has a psychology degree or something like that, and you feel that you're going to an impartial person and have a conversation. And I suppose that's the same in an organization. That just makes me think that maybe even somebody from HR may not be the right person, because sometimes they may be perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be more on one side than the other. So sometimes getting somebody from outside is actually the most valuable thing.
Louisa Weinstein 27:33
That That's right. I mean, I think the more that you train up people in the organization to be able to have conflict coaching conversations, the better it has an HR, obviously, you know, most, pretty much all HR that I speak to are really on the side of the employee. But as you say, there's a perception that they're on the side of the organization. Yes. And so HR needs to be able to have those conflict coaching conversations. And sometimes it's not worth training up all of HR to become mediators. Sometimes it's easy, just bring in a mediator. So there are lots of play. But I think what I feel very strongly about is building that culture of early resolution. So, you know, in our conversation before, actually, the team members are able to work through conflict and have some of those skills. And it's not all on HR. And I think that most HR will be very happy to say yes, give managers some of those skills so that they can deal with it, because they often pass things to HR, like a kind of mom or dad role. That Yes, isn't shouldn't be with HR.
Morten Andersen 28:34
Yes. In your book, you talk about sort of building a culture and how important conflict friendly culture is. And is that something that you see often to see organizations working on that? Or is that still in its early stages?
Louisa Weinstein 28:52
I think it is in its early stages. And sometimes it's an early stages, because people don't necessarily realize how simple it is, hmm, there is a big crossover with coaching. So coaching can support that process quite well. But the mechanics of resolving conflicts and conflict resolution is very much a process. And it's important to be able to understand those process, that process and the dynamics that go on within that process. And if you enabled the people within the organization to do that and have touchpoints in that organization for resolution, including at the top of mediation, but earlier on peer coaching, resolution agents, etc. You can create that culture quite easily. Hmm. Yeah, maybe it feels a bit like a too much. Too much of a big deal. But actually, yeah, people, it's there, but it's it's not as efficient, I think, as it could be.
Morten Andersen 29:47
Well, I think it's, it's kind of the same in a marriage in a sense that if every time that you have a conflict and we often have conflicts in marriages, if you don't talk about it, or just leave it aside, then you know, all of us Sudden it will burst into something really ugly. But if you have a, let's call it a culture, if you have a way that you normally deal with conflict in your marriage, chances are that you will keep the, the the level of intensity of conflict at a lower level. And therefore you can you can manage them better. So, I can see, I mean, because we can all resonate with that, or a partner or a friend or something, we can all resonate with that conflicts happen. And sometimes you don't deal with them immediately. But if you don't deal with them, they'll actually, the next conflict will stand on top of the previous conflict. And you will have a big mountain of conflicts all of a sudden, unless you have a culture or a way of dealing with conflicts
Louisa Weinstein 30:43
and to preempt it. And I think there's a very easy way actually, there's a method that I have actually taken from family dynamics, from family kind of conversations that I think applies very well in team check ins. So you go through a five point a very quick five point agenda, you need to kind of talk about it and work it through. But essentially, the agenda is, so when I'm checking in with you weekly, we go through this agenda. And what this agenda includes is, well, it starts with appreciations. So it starts with what I appreciate about you. And if I'm really irritated with you, that's a brilliant place to start because I have to search for what I appreciate about you. And you feel appreciated. So that enables you to open up a little bit towards me. So appreciations then, so not necessarily in this order, but hopes and dreams. So how we'd like things to go in the future, how we'd you know, what we hope from the team, we hope from our job puzzles. So, instead of looking at problems, you're looking at puzzles, so what are you working on at work, I've got a puzzle, not necessarily to resolve it, but to deal with the puzzles. The next one is complaints and recommendations. We will love that one, we want to do that one first. But complaints and recommendations are in a particular point of that agenda. So we can say, I'm going to look at complaints or recommendations. Now my complaint is my recommendation is so that my complaint doesn't completely take over. Yes. And then new information. So often we forget to tell someone really key information. Now obviously, a family situation, it might be that, you know, I'm working next week. So you're going to need to pick up, you know, can you pick up the kids from from school, but those but we kind of assume that they know that we're working and so or, or we assume that they know that the project might be delayed because of technology and how technology happens. But if we provide that new information,
Morten Andersen 32:46
I think there's a couple of things in what you say there that is that is very helpful. First is that when we're talking about culture in an organization that can become very big, very bland, also very difficult to actually want to do anything about what should I do. But when you drive it down to team level, then it becomes a lot more concrete. So I actually think, thinking about driving better conflict resolution in a company in an organization, if you think about it at a team level, that is probably the most effective. And the second thing I think about when you say all of this is that whenever we talk about high effective teams or teams that work well, one of the things that is always mentioned is trust, the high level of trust you have, the better that you will function. And actually, the five points that you have on your agenda, I think will build trust. So that you on one hand is is saying what you appreciate about this person and what you hope and, and dreams are for, for the team and for this person. But also that you actually put things on the table that you don't think is working well, and you do it in a non threatening way, is building trust. And I think what I take from that is that working on this at a team level and do it in a structured way, will have so many benefits.
Louisa Weinstein 33:59
And it's also quite easy. So you say to someone, let's run through the five point check in, you can say let's go for a walk and run through the five point check in. And do you want to start? Should I start which point you want to start? It's quite easy to remember those five points. So we're now on complaints and recommendations and appreciations. Yes. You know, and you know that the complaint and recommendation is coming as well.
Morten Andersen 34:22
And I think so teams, and again, I think for you know, for friendships or for families. And I don't think there is a big surprise that we can learn a lot from family dynamics and what works in family therapy and bring that into teams because we have a lot of knowledge about exactly the dynamics and how one part of the of the family affects other parts of the family and how you can actually structure conversations that resolve conflict.
Louisa Weinstein 34:48
I think it's important not to kind of put people off I think it can be very overwhelming. Hmm. resolving conflict doesn't have to be a psychological process where we're kind of bogged down and having to work through feelings. Some people just don't want to do that. And I completely understand. And you know, fine, we don't all have to work through our feelings to get on with people. It's the way that we learn to communicate with each other that's effective. And I think we can put frameworks in place. Whether you want to explore your emotional intelligence or whether you don't, I think it can work both ways. Because even with that five point agenda, you can keep it very practical.
Morten Andersen 35:25
Yes, I think that's a very important point to make, especially in a work setting that we also have for having a practical, collegial relationship. Let's keep it that way. And I think that's, that's a really good point. At the end of each episode here at What Monkeys Do, we sort of have a couple of do's and don'ts. And I would like to hear you what three advice you would give a listener who find him or herself in a conflict. So let's say that this is a person working at a workplace, there is a conflict that is building up. So it has been just about some disagreements, but now it's become a little bit more emotional, a little bit more personal. So we're at that beginning where I can see, this can turn nasty if we don't deal with it. So now I would like to manage it, I'd like to deal with it. What would you suggest this person to do?
Louisa Weinstein 36:18
Take some time with it, the longer you take, the quicker it gets resolved in a way, then. So take some time to write down what you want, what that might look like, how you think things might pan out, and where the other person is. And also, if you possibly can, you know, get some resource, look online, get some training, we might book onto one of our trainings, just to really start to practice those things and talk it through or talk it through with, if you've got someone that can that can coach you through it. And to a degree, that very helpful, because to get clear on where you are in this, where you are what you want, what are the potential consequences and where the other person might be? And then you need to think about how you're going to communicate with the other person and what you want is that communication and make sure that you prioritize that because you're probably not going to get everything.
Morten Andersen 37:12
Hmm. So take some time to prepare, understand what it is that you would like to get out of this. The more preparation you do, the better it's likely to be. Secondly, get some resources, get some knowledge about how do you deal with these conversations, well maybe even talk it through with somebody. And the third thing is, you know, be clear about how you're going to handle this communication? Well,
Louisa Weinstein 37:41
I probably add one more as well, which is that we're in this situation right now, can you laugh at yourself or laugh at the situation? Where can you have a little giggle and just lighten yourself?
Morten Andersen 37:53
That's it, that's a really good and difficult thing to do. But that's a really good thing to do.
Louisa Weinstein 37:58
If you can, that's why, you know, try hard to do that I would suggest
Morten Andersen 38:01
I will do. Thanks a lot for taking the time to have this conversation with me and to give the listeners some insight into how to deal with conflicts. That was a phenomenal conversation. Thanks a lot.
Louisa Weinstein 38:12
Thank you for having me. Bye.
Morten Andersen 38:20
What a great conversation with Louisa. I took three things away from the conversation. One, we have patterns in our conflicts, we all have conflict, we all experience them. And conflicts are not necessarily bad, they can help us grow. But interestingly, we have patterns in our conflicts. Some of them come for the same underlying reasons or they come towards the same type of person. So if you can identify those patterns that can really help you in solving your conflicts effectively, to our most intense conflicts happen when there is a violation of a fundamental need. So we often discuss symptoms, you don't clean up after you I want you to spend more time at home, or I want to make the presentation not you. But all of that is just symptoms behind those symptoms, there is a violation of a fundamental need. You don't acknowledge me, or you don't recognize me. Three, structured conversations in small units, such as teams of families can prevent conflicts from escalating. It's really hard to change the culture around conflicts, especially if you're in in a large organization. smaller units are much better, a family of five or a team of six. That's where it's possible to change the culture of the conversations that we have. Great talk. Thanks a lot again. If you like the interview and you want to hear more, please press the subscribe button. Also. If you did like the interview will appreciate if you give the podcast a five star feedback. It helps a lot for our reach. Until next time, take care