Decisions and Conflicts

March 27th, 2017 by Patricia Jehle Leave a reply »

Got Conflicts?

What is (the) truth?

Make good decisions by thinking and withholding judgement – do not go too fast!

In my last blog about positive leadership (http://wp.me/p5Y10a-1xo ) is promised to write about conflict and there being three sides: yours, the others’, and what is the truth. These days, many say that only their point of view I the truth, but that does not take into consideration the fact that we can be swayed by irrational thinking. We all are.

Truth and Decisions

I read a book last week called Sway: the Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior and this book shows how we can be dead wrong about what we think is a right decision, and this or “side” is wrong. Here are some ways in which we get trapped in wrong thinking:

  • We are afraid of loss – fear of loss makes us make poor choices based on our fears
  • We are too committed to a decision and direction – we don’t like to change our minds once we have decided
  • We make poor first judgments about a person, a program, an idea and “cannot” easily change these ideas – the first impression syndrome

Afraid to lose?

Loss aversion can derail our plans, our business, our life. It makes us focus too much on the short-term and not the long-term. We tend to give up on things that we see as loss to us especially when we apply great meaning to that thing, whatever it might be. We need to remember to always think long-term. Short-term savings may actually cause long-term failure. Also, always think and decide for the positive: focus on maximizing gains, not on avoiding losses. That means you have appositive view and will choose for more positive outcomes. Defense of a “good thing” can lead to a siege mentality where one makes desperate decisions. Decisions made to save further loss are to be avoided at all costs.

Don’t just commit! Stay Flexible!

Often we think that once a decision is made we should not change our minds. This can lead to committing yourself, your team, and your business to a dangerous path with no way of escape. Often this commitment to a decision can deter you from seeing healthier, more productive alternatives. We choose not to look so we don’t have to change – either our opinion or our direction. WE have to be willing to question our choices and direction, at all times.

Labeling is deadly

When we make our first opinions, we have a very hard time moving away from them, so it’s best to withhold our judgment for as long as possible, and to disregard others’ first opinions. Remember, people CAN (and do) change, other people’s judgments (especially first ones) are just as faulty as yours and mine, and that if we label it is likely to stick, to the detriment of you, of your team, of your business, and so on. We all know the story of the concert violinist in the NYC subway who was ignored. Be very careful, or you will be caught in this trap, and it is a trap.

Got conflict?

So, what can we do to fight these traps?

Talk about it (communicate with others, always questioning your motives and biases). Voice your discomfort, talk about your reservations.

Think long-term and do not be afraid of short-term losses

Use data (and not impressions) to make a decision about a direction, a decision, and so on- do not let your (or other people’s) BIAS make your decision. It has been proven, for example, that most managers make very poor hiring and firing choices based on bias. Even one word can label a person or a project. Be very careful about your thoughts and words.

Judge and decide very tentatively. Give yourself a self-imposed waiting period for decisions, if at all possible. Remember, hurry is the enemy of good judgment.

Be the dissenter. It has been found that Group Think is way too powerful for an organization/team and can control a group to make very poor decisions. So speak out when you disagree- and listen to the dissenter, as he or she may be right, and the whole group wrong (remember the bias/labeling problem).

THINK (and REFLECT) first when you find yourself in a conflict

So, think about these aspects of decision-making when you are in conflict with someone and you may find a better truth between the two of you. After all, there are maybe even four sides: yours, theirs, the truth, and another solution altogether.

Have a successful week!

Patricia Jehle

Jehle Coaching www.jehle-coaching.com   patricia@jehle-coaching.com

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