Article Image

Having recently completed an intense course on conflict resolution and negotiation I thought I'd try none of it at the builders upstairs. They've been excavating the apartments on the floor above the drok embassy for 4 months and the end is still not in sight.

I've tried everything to persuade them to work by the rules which are simple; start at 8am, break for two hours at lunch and wrap it up around 5. Most of my efforts have been exactly what you're not supposed to and none of it has worked. So here's the antiguide to conflict resolution:

Don't frame the situation as "you're doing something your not supposed to" and neglect to mention what the situation is.

Don't agree with what the counter-party says when you don't understand what they mean. Then don't get upset when you expect A and get B.

Don't try and grab the counter-party by the elbow in an attempt to squeeze a token of physical pressure. It's a sure-fire way to make someone have a complete spaz.

Don't threaten to call the police when you know they aren't going to do anything.

Don't keep repeating "why why why?" and then tell the counter-party you just want to understand why they want to ruin your life.

Don't try to express the situation in sounds and then get angry when the counter-party mimics you to his amusement.

Don't try to get commitment by using "repeat after me".

Don't try to be good cop and bad cop at the same time, then kick over a few stools and storm out.

Don't pick one guy and follow him around in silence until he bursts into nervous laughter.

Don't declare you're going over the counter-party's head when you don't know who that would be or how to contact them.

Don't try to grab the counter-party's tools and tell them they'll be returned when they learn to behave.

Don't bang on a door as hard as you can. It just hurts your fist.

above all, sometimes it is not a win-win situation but won-win. Don't think their perspective even involves the concepts of gain and lose.

So, what should you do? This recent Ted Talk on Conflict by William Ury expresses some great conflict notions themed around finding the third side to a conflict...

Get the management office to sort it out. It's their job to tell people what they should't be doing... and they love it. If that fails - request a discount that fairly compensates for the disruption, or move.

comments powered by Disqus