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Two different ways of approaching Conflicted Situations PDF Print E-mail

Red Zone Approach to Conflicted Situations

People approaching conflict from their Red Zone will:

  • Create a combative atmosphere or avoidance atmosphere, an undercurrent of fear and/or anger
  • Feel that if they win, the other person loses
  • Focus on getting the best outcome for themselves with little or no regard for the other person's interests
  • State their position in the strongest possible terms
  • Refuse to modify their viewpoint
  • Continually point out the validity of their own position and the incorrectness of the other's position
  • Use a combination of threats and promises to convince the other that he/she has to accept what they want
  • Be extremely careful and selective about the information they share
  • Often have very unclear and misleading about their intentions
  • Be tense, with charged body language
  • Feel that everything is personal
  • Ignore the long-term consequences of the interaction

Green Zone Approach to Conflicted Situations

In conflicted situations, choose to adopt an open and non-defensive problem-solving communication strategy in which you openly listen and communicate honestly, with no blame and no deliberate emotional button pushing. Instead, you define the issues and interests and search for mutually satisfying, creative solutions to the problem.

In the discussion, focus on the interests, not the person, while communicating openly and honestly about your wants and concerns. Focus on finding ways to help all stakeholders be successful. Be aware of anything that would threaten trust and the long-term relationship.

Useful Specifics

  • Relax. Take a breath. Keep in mind your intention to have a successful interaction. The subject is the issue, not you. This is not a vote on your self-concept. Remember: hard on the problem, soft on the people.
  • Be clear that you want to talk about the issue. Be open about your concerns and what you want. Make it clear your intention is to try to get a solution that works for both of you.
  • Listen first. Ask the other person to share how he or she sees the situation or issue. If he or she wants you to go first, go first.
  • Restate the other person's expressed ideas and feelings in your own words, i.e., "Your interests are...," "This is how you see it...," "I hear you saying...."
  • Accept accountability for the climate. Avoid an indication of approval or disapproval in restating the other's viewpoint. Keep unhooking your own reactive buttons.
  • Make your nonverbal messages congruent with your verbal messages.
  • Check your assumptions and do not interrogate. Instead, ask questions:

"How did you reach that viewpoint?"
"What made you think that?"
"Tell me more about how you see it."
"What made you come to that conclusion?"