A previous survey undertaken by CEDR into corporate habits with regard to dispute handling – internally and externally - revealed that few managers, only 37 per cent, feel trained to cope with business conflict. Furthermore, and rather tellingly, it suggests that managers would be prepared to go to some lengths just to avoid confrontation:

  • over a third of managers would rather parachute jump for the first time (35 per cent) than address a problem with their team at work,
  • just under a third would rather shave their head for charity (27%)
  • and some even said they would rather eat 'bush tucker' bugs for a week (8%)!

Human beings are creatures of emotion. We carry a lifetime of experience – hurts, pleasures, inadequacies, strengths, relationships, aspirations, joys, failures and fears – into the present and these or a combination of these emotions are often entangled in how we react on any given day to any given situation. Neutrality is unnatural to us. We all develop personal values, attitudes, beliefs and views conditioned by our life experiences.

How powerful then to learn how to work impartially with others so that you can recognise not only the sources and extent of your own values and how they may affect your reaction with other people but learning how to identify and work with emotions, and attitudes of others.

  • Do you know how to frame a good question?
  • Can use body language to assist in communication?
  • Can you stand back and allow someone to reach their own conclusions, albeit with your patient guidance?
  • Trust is fragile – do you know how to treat it?

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The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) is an independent, non-profit organisation with a mission to cut the cost of conflict and create choice and capability in dispute prevention and resolution. www.cedr.com