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How To Keep Conflict From Destroying You, Part 3


In the last two posts, we’ve seen that  the Red Zone tends to elicit  one or or a combination of four personal themes in each of us:  survival,acceptancecontrol, or competence.

When we sink deeply in the Red Zone, the feelings aroused by those themes become more prominent than the ability to think clearly. As a result we  carry on the conflict, immersed in our own story and the feelings associated with it. This colors everything and determines our actions and reactions. As a result, we lose our ability to clearly understand the issues involved in the conflicts we face.

So, what to do?

We recommend getting a crisp, clean sheet of paper and drawing two lines vertically, making three columns.

In the first column, write what you believe to be your core Red Zone issue (survival, acceptance, control, or competence). If you believe you have more than one, list them all, but do your best to narrow it down to one if possible.

Example: My core issue is acceptance.

In the second column, list the thoughts and behaviors that flow from that issue – actual thoughts and behaviors you have experienced and exhibited. It’s a time for complete honesty!

Example: I’m always trying to be ‘the nice guy’ so that I’m loved and accepted.

In the third and final column, write down the results of these thoughts and behaviors.

Example: I can never hold people accountable, because I’m afraid they won’t like or accept me anymore.

This exercise will  provide tremendous clarity and help you begin to see the conflicts in which you find yourself in fresh and more accurate ways. If you feel really daring, try having your closest and most immediate team do the exercise together.

There’s no reason conflict has to destroy your relationships or poison your workplace. You can thrive through conflict!