I’m a big fan of the TV show CSI. Truly, I enjoy most crime shows as long as they’re not too violent but I particularly liked the character of Gil Grissom in CSIs early years. He was the crime lab’s night-shift supervisor, a socially awkward but brilliant investigator.
I suspect I like crime shows because they almost always have a positive resolution. Unlike in real life where some conflicts can’t be neatly tied up in a bow so everyone lives in peace and harmony ever after.
Grissom handled conflict in a calm, dispassionate manner. In one episode, the team raced against the clock to stop a killer before he could murder another victim. In response to their stress and impatience with each other, Grissom said, “Sometimes slow is fast.”
He directed everyone to focus on their task, pay attention to detail and share pertinent information. Naturally, they catch the bad guy.
What do crime shows and conflict management have in common?
Paying attention to details and sharing pertinent information often helps in conflict situations too. There, the important details include noticing and effectively responding to feelings and non-verbal signals. Pertinent information includes hearing and sharing different perspectives with respect.
Just as the CSIs sort through evidence to piece together a story of what happened, during a disagreement, it helps to sort through the differences to piece together a common understanding from which to create mutually acceptable solutions.
If you don’t get why someone acted as they did or said something hurtful, pretend to be a CSI. Dig for clues. Search for motives.
Ask yourself, “What am I missing? What don’t I understand? What might cause a reasonable person to do or say such a thing?”
If the other person has a history of behaving in ways that trigger conflict, you’ll also want to learn how to set boundaries to protect yourself.
One of the most powerful boundaries is to remain and calm and professional in the heat of the moment. This takes practice but it works. It’s hard to keep up a nasty conflict with someone who won’t take the bait.
Why did I pair crime shows and blogging in the title?
The phrase, “sometimes slow is fast” has stuck with me all this time. I find it a useful reminder to attend to the quality of work and life and not only to getting lots done as quickly as possible.
It tells to me to raise my head every now and then and look at the big picture.
It helps me slow down long enough to get my bearings again when I’ve been hunkered down in the weeds of the gazillion daily tasks I must tackle.
In the last several months, I’ve peeked above the tallest weed stalks to re-evaluate this blog and what I hope to accomplish with it.
I created Conflict Tango to help you and as many people as possible increase the likelihood of productive outcomes from conflict. Further, my goal is to help you prevent avoidable conflict and learn how to take care of yourself when it gets ugly.
I want you to know how to harness the power of conflict—different ways of thinking and seeing the world—to create incredible and innovative solutions with others. Solutions that would not be possible without the magic of conflict.
I want to help you take the scary out of conflict and to know you can handle it with less stress and more confidence. To realize that while you can’t change other people, you can change the dance. You can shift the tempo and rhythm to transform a tense situation into a collaborative one. Your actions alone can make things better.
All of those goals still resonate with me and I trust with you as well since you’re here reading. I remain committed to them and to you.
This blog and its offerings have to grow, though, in order to fully realize their potential and reach more people.
To that end, I’ve been studying and exploring how to connect and engage with people more deeply in this virtual environment. Is it possible to teach interpersonal skills in a meaningful and heartfelt way online? If so, how? Because reading can only take you so far.
I’m still learning but one thing has become clear. I have to journey further into the blogosphere to share my knowledge, see what others are doing and get to know people with similar and related expertise.
This way, I’ll be able to bring you more resources—human and technological–and eventually develop more interactive and engaging means for you to meet your wants and needs with respect to handling conflict and interpersonal relationships.
What does this mean?
Meanwhile, I’ll be writing articles of the same quality on other sites. You’ve seen me already doing this but there’ll be much more.
I’ll also be developing teaching games and courses to deepen your experience at Conflict Tango. As you can imagine, this takes time and is another reason I need to balance writing articles here and elsewhere with creating quality products.
Oh, and I’ll be doing this while working in the real (not only virtual) world since this has all been a labor of love so far, and I have to pay the bills like everyone else.
My intent is to post to Conflict Tango on the first Wednesday of each month. As guest articles are published on other blogs, I will notify you here and via email if you’re a subscriber. I hope you’ll follow me over to those sites and leave comments so I know you were there.
If all works out as planned, you won’t have to miss me. We’ll just meet up in a different space some of the time.
By the way, I want to write and create courses about what matters most to you.
- What are your burning questions about conflict and human relations?
- What is your biggest fear, problem or frustration regarding interpersonal interactions?
- If you’re a leader, manager or in a conflict-related profession, what is your worst nightmare of the type of conflict situation you might have to face someday (or already did and now it haunts you)?
Tell me by leaving a comment below or if you’d prefer, email me at Jagoda@conflicttango.com