Dealing With An Irate Person

Interesting post on How to Deal With An Irate Person using a technique called Pace and Lead. Instead of reacting in a calm manner, you first join the person in expressing emotions of equal intensity (e.g. Wow. Really? If that happened to me I would be upset, too.) and then gradually lead the person to a calmer place.


Teaching Peace

From this Staff Matters article:

In Teaching Peace - A Guide for the Classroom and Everyday Life (2003), Leah Wells uses work by Colman McCarthy to bring Gandhi's principles of non-violent solutions into contemporary consideration for people today. Interestingly, these principles connect very closely with contemporary writing about conflict resolution in Western society.

Colman expounds Gandhi's 9 steps as follows:

1. Define the conflict. What is it that you are actually fighting over?...Can one person believe the argument is over one issue and the other person believes the argument is about a completely different issue?

2. Work on what's doable...When you work on what you can actually do and accomplish, the tangible goals of resolving the conflict seem more real and viable.

3. Resolve the dispute in a neutral place...

4. Don't ask what happened. Ask instead 'What did you do?' Asking what happened elicits emotions and promotes blame. Asking 'what did you do?' encourages the person to use 'I' messages and focus on the facts of the situation.

5. List the shared elements of the relationship versus the one unshared separation...People, even those who are in the midst of a disagreement, still have common ground. We all have the need for love, acceptance, understanding, belonging and attention. These are good places to start when there are many hurt feelings or when the conflict is particularly heated.

6. It's not you versus me but you and me versus our problem... Colman says 'you're not the problem, and I'm not the problem but rather the problem is the problem'. We have to work together on solving our shared conflict and work at not demonising the other person but acknowledging their humanity and core value.

7. Work on your forgiveness skills...true forgiveness means that the evil act no longer stands as a barrier to the relationship, and that we must separate the evil from the evildoer.

8. Work on your listening skills...True listening means that you are hearing the words, the underlying messages, the heart messages and the intentions of the person and truly attempting to grasp what they are relating.

9. Purify your heart. One of my favorite things to ask my students is how they do this. Some say that they play sports, meditate, pray, sleep, hike, write in a journal or talk with friends. Many report that being close to nature makes them feel purified.


How to Say No to the Demands of Others

This article from Mediate.com excerpting The Power of a Positive No by William Ury,

offers specific key words or phrases you can use in saying No to the other's demand in a way that flows naturally from your Yes, your power, and your respect. Remember that your tone and underlying intent need to be congruent with your words if they are to have the right impact...

"No" or "No Thanks"...
"I Have a Policy"...
"I Have Plans" or "I Have Another Commitment"...
"Not Now"...
"I Prefer to Decline Rather Than Do a Poor Job"...

In short, know your limits, acknowledge them freely, and spend your time on what you can do well. Both you and the other will be better off in the long run.


General Counsel Favors Mediation and ADR

In a recent interview, Mark LeHocky, General Counsel at Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, discusses a key tool for cost-control at his company:

I actively pursue a package of early dispute resolution tools -- starting with a disciplined internal review process and the use of mediation and other ADR devices regardless of the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the positions of each dispute matter. I have served as a mediator for the federal courts for 10 years -- one of my few pro bono activities now that my kids are grown up enough that I can stop coaching soccer teams. That experience, together with my background in private practice, has transformed my thinking about how disputes arise and, more importantly, how they grow and metastasize unnecessarily.

More often than not, disputes go on longer than they should and become bigger than they need to be due to misunderstandings as to facts as much as legal issues. Sorting those items out as soon as possible is the best for everyone concerned and helps to avoid the unnecessary buildup of litigation fees and other costs. That doesn't mean we don't litigate. We do so when the situation warrants and we use the best and the brightest lawyers. But that happens only after we have pursued the early dispute resolution path in rigorous fashion.

Hat tip to InhouseBlog for the link.