We may not want to admit it, but sometimes we’re the reason why small conflicts escalate into much bigger ones. Conflict escalates when we don’t do enough to try to understand the other person. That’s just one of the insights shared in a recent interview with Lise Hebabi, a change consultant with the Intersol Group.
View a short interview on How to Avoid the Things that Make Conflict Worse
Lise explains that conflict arises when we resort to an instinctual response: “We see something, we make meaning of it and we act on the meaning that we’ve made from it.” Lise says that we do this very quickly and that can get us into trouble.
Our senses take in what’s around us and we interpret those things, she explains. We can’t absorb everything and make sense of it quickly, so we select pieces of it. Then we start layering meaning over what we’ve seen and we make assumptions. Those assumptions are what lead to miscommunication, and miscommunication makes conflict worse.
In this interview, Lise explains how a person can ratchet down conflict by stepping back in their thought process to the point where they started adding their own meaning without confirming it to be true. She says, “That’s the point where maybe, just maybe, (you realize) there could be a different interpretation for what you saw or heard.” Once people open their minds to the possibility of a different interpretation than their own, they can start to use skills such as listening and questioning to try to figure out where the misunderstanding stems from and then work to eliminate it.
Lise knows conflict well. She is an experienced change consultant focusing on human dynamics in organizations. Lise is also a Certified Professional Facilitator with the International Association of Facilitators. And she is one of the facilitators for Building Leadership through Communication, a course for Presidents-elect conducted by the OREA Centre for Leadership Development.
Title: How to Avoid the Things that Make Conflict Worse
Featuring: Lise Hebabi, Intersol Group
Length: 7:08 minutes
Check out more video interviews from the OREA Centre for Leadership Development.