Intra-personal conflicts in our relations with others and with ourselves

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29 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 2 χρόνια και 11 μήνες)

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behaviour is called that behaviour that enables us to get what we want
without damage to others or to ourselves.

We then succeed in expressing our feelings in a way that
is socially accepted.

In case of

behaviour I allow the other to walk over me, I do not respect my
own feelings and I do not get what I want. I will hardly express my feelings, or not at
all. I suppress my feelings.


behaviour can h
elp me to get what I want, but at the expense of others. I
will express my feelings in an explosive way, and this is socially less acceptable.

Very often we have learned to behave in specific situations in a subassertive or
aggressive way. Especially we a
ct like this in situations where there are opposite

This mechanism works as follows:

We experience a situation with opposite interests as a conflict situation. There is not
only a conflict with the one who wants something different from us, but

there is also a

ourselves : We have to make a choice. Because of this our tension will
rise and this makes us feel uncomfortable. So we will try to reduce the tension.

One way to reduce the tension is to avoid the conflict by compromising
. But by
compromising we cannot eliminate the tension completely. A certain residue, a
tension will stay, because we wrong ourselves a bit. We cannot be content with

This residue, this remnant tension is important. In following similar
situations we will
not start at the same tension
level A , but we'll start from level B.


It is this way we top up our tension so high, that we overexert ourselves and come into

The building
up of inner tension we do because of both explicit or non
expectations of other people. They appeal to our needs of recognition and affection and
they appeal to our beliefs about what we have to do. But very often our
personal norms

are opposite t
o our
direct needs

and feelings. What we believe we'd have to do does not
always match with our needs for security, affection or with our needs for recognition or
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to express our feelings.

It is exactly this conflict between personal norms and personal ne
eds which leads to the
topping up of residue

Dealing with tension

Tension is essential in live. Physically we need muscle
tension to stand up and to
move.We need

to realize things. We need

and interpersonal

to unfold o
urselves and to build relations and maintain them.

Sometimes it is useful to reduce tension, in other situations we will have to increase it.
In any situation each of us has his personal optimal tension
level. Some might know
that we can distinguish betwee
n healthy and unhealthy stress.

In this contribution we will not talk about how to increase tension up to an optimal
level. What we will explore are the reactions to over
tension and how we can “train”
ourselves to reduce high tension to an acceptable lev

High tension we can unload in 2 ways : Explosion or implosion. Explosion is a personal
reaction towards the outer world . This can be done in a 'canalised' way for instance by
doing sports, or by agressive outbursts , sometimes also towards people who

nothing to do with our irritations.

Implosion is an inner explosion in the person itself. Consciously or unconsciously we
blame ourselves not to respect our own rights and feelings. We get different complaints
such as sleeplessness (we do not succe
ed to
tense ourselves), headaches, or in other
situations it can lead to serious stomach disturbances or heart complaints.

Dealing with stress in difficult situations with other people in conflicts is something we
can learn. We have tools:


we can learn

to handle our breathing


we can learn to make a better distinction between our factual observation and


the phantasies which are evoked by this perception


we can learn to allow ourselves to fail

1. Handle your breathing

In stressfull situations we only use

a small part of our lungcapacity. We breathe with the
upper part of our lungs, because we hold our breath too much. This way our heart is
going to beat faster and blood with less oxygen will be transported to our brains and
muscles. Breathing deeply will
not solve the problem, as a lot of air is blocked in the
lungs , so fresh air will not go in . It is important to
breathe out
. Our reflexes will take
care of the breathing in anyhow. This way we will get more air, we will get more

oxygen out of it, the te
nsion in the muscles will disappear and we will become more
aware of the situation around us.

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We can learn to control our expiration by counting till 8 slowly while breathing out.

We can do this either before or during a conflict we have with someone. I
f we do this a
number of times we will learn and we will notice that our reactions become more
adequate in such situations.

2. Make a distinction

between observation and phantasies

A second possibility to learn to react more adequate in difficult situati
ons is to learn to
draw more and more consciously a distinction between on one hand what we do

and on the other hand our

of the facts and our connected

For example we see someone talking with narrow eyes and the volume o
f his voice is
rising. Our interpretation is that he is 'getting angry' and our phantasy is that he will
force us to do things we do not want to do.

In this example we risk that our fears will determine our reactions more than the man’s
intentions or what

he really says.

The matter is not whether our interpretations can be wrong (this can happen as well !).
The important thing is that we should learn to

our behaviour


and describable behaviour of the other person instead of

on what this
behaviour evokes in us , such as feelings of uncertainty or fear.

This evident distinction between


is hard to make in
practice. We are very fast in making interpretations and our emotions are trying to run
y with us. We can sharpen our capability to distinguish during such conflicts by
making factual descriptions of what you observe and by actively ignoring all phantasies.

3. Allow yourself to fail

A third possibility is to allow yourself, even to force you
rself to fail (sometimes) in
conflict situations. This may be hard to believe, but it works.

A personal trainingprogram in which we bring ourself to fail on purpose (for instance to
be turned down at least 3 times a week) will reduce the pressure we impose

ourselves drastically.

We will experience that being 'turned down' does not necessarily destroy our
personality, that no disasters will happen. (very often such unrealistic phantasies are the
reason for stress and inadequate behaviour).

We will get mor
e possibilities for alternative action because the negative consequences
of failure will not happen or because we will experience that we can live with them.
The stress we experience in such conflicts will go down because our sense for reality
will gain th
e better of our fearful phantasies. This way we will become more effective
in dealing with conflicts.

In conclusion, dealing with stress in conflicts is not a simple matter. The more we are
under stress the more difficult it becomes to use the mentioned ap
plications. It can be
useful to ask a consultant or a trainer to help you to integrate these techniques in your


Peter Senge talks about „ladder of inference“

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Variety in influencing styles, a vital force for change


When we say leadership, we think of

The definition

of charisma is :


a devinely inspired gift, as for prophesizing, healing etc.


a special inspiring quality of leadership.

(according to Webster's new world dictionary)

A manager who was choosen 'Manager of the year' in Belgium, once defined an
manager as a manager who can bring ordinary people to excellent results.

To stimulate change
processes in organisations we need good managers. We seldom
find the 'ideal managers' to lead an organisation through a change
process. Only a few
are born as goo
d managers in the sense of being managers with the charisma necessary
to guide their people through difficult and complex changes.

Just like us, most of them are just ordinary people.

So we will have to find ways to introduce and implement changes with 'or
managers. They may be very involved , they may have reasonable capabilities, they may
have a lot of experiece, but most of them will have little natural charisma.

Any major change produces a large amount of uncertainty and insecurity in the
sation. When things are changing, the level of predictability reduces drastically.
People do not know how new procedures will work, how collegues will behave in a
new structure , who is going to take which responsibility, or whether they will be able
to me
et the standards for their new task. Most of the time this will cause resistance both
active or passive.

The success of the change
project will then depend on the capability of the manager to
deal with this resistance. If the manager succeeds in transform
ing the resistance into
active cooperation of the people involved, the project will be succesfull. So the most
task of the manager

is to get people moving, to increase their readiness for

To do so the manager will have to

l styles

in his behaviour:


he should be able to



he has to show empathy/


he has to build a

of a better future for his people

The problem now is that these styles are that different, that only few managers are able


Gepubliceerd in tijdschrift 'Conflict' Kaluga Mei 1996

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to beh
ave alternatively in these 3 styles.

Most of them (and most of the consultants as well) have developed one of these styles
far more than they have developed the other styles.

Most of the managers are either good in confronting or are rather empathetic.

ly the charismatic leader will have developed the 'vision building style'

by nature and in balance with the confrontation style and the empathatic one.

In this article these three styles of charismatic leadership will be made more specific.



The focus is on the other.

Your basic attitude is being sincerely interested in the other. You want to know what he
thinks, feels how he looks at things.

You can do so by using
open questions,

active listening

what you
understand and by using his

you stay within
frame of

You can make it more tense for the other by asking for more information, by offering
him other points of view, and by asking him for reactions.

The othe
r will be invited to tell you where he is moving, and will be invited to look
rently at the problems.

He will experience help in organizing his thoughts and will
feel stimulated to enter deeper into the subject.

Effect :
When this influencing style

is used the other will feel respected. He has had the
opportunity to explore his ideas , and knows you understand him.


The focus is on your own expertise.

Your basic attitude is that you know the facts, you know what you are talkin
g about,
you want to be very clear and you are ready to stand for what you think. You do this by
giving your

into the situation, or giving your

It is
your opinion.
You use and present your
frame of reference
, but you take care tha
t the other can
follow you.

It will be more tense for the other if you also confront him with the consequences of his
behaviour. You predict and describe for him what will happen if he does not change his
attitude and behaviour or does not change the exist
ing conditions.

You offer the other a severe mirror. He is confronted with facts and possible
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He hears clearly what you think about all this or how you perceive the whole situation.

Effect :
When this style of influencing is used the other w
ill understand how you look
at the situation. He will be provoked to express his ideas or views. He will get the
feeling that he cannot deny anymore and that he'll have to do something.


The focus is on the future.

Basically you are e
nergetic. Together with the other you want to approach the future in
a positive way. You intend to stimulate the others creativity.

You will
make suggestions yourself,

but also you will ask the other to develop a
positive view on the future.

The limitation
s in the present situation are of less importance. The main issue is a clear,
concrete and realistic vision on the future situation. From there on you will think
backwards to see what is nessesary to do now.

It will be more tense for the other if you clari
fy the future using metaphors or analogies.
The other will be invited to forget about the problems in the present situation and to
focus on a satisfying situation in the future. You will help him to visionalize this as
concrete as possible. His creativity
will be stimulated by your suggestions . These
suggestions intend to cover as many aspects as possible.

Effect :
When this influencing style is used the other will take responsibility to realize a
wanted future worth to strive for. He will focus on result
s rather than on difficulties.

He 'll get energy to take initiatives.


You are skilled in a style if you are able to use a

style and if you know
when to



Sometimes managers and consultants give their opinion packed
in a question.
Sometimes we summerize to bring order into our own ideas instead of connecting with

the other.

Sometimes we use arguments without knowing what kind of arguments this person
needs to be persuaded.

For clients (in the case of consultants) and
workers or collegues (in the case of
managers) it is important to notice that we do not transform their information. It is also
of crucial importance that we are clear when we give our opinions.

Very often the effect of the influencing process will depend
on our skills
to practice
the right style at the right moment.

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TIPS in case you want to exercise ...

Connecting Style:

Keep contact, let him know he's important to you and that you really are interested.

Use sentences

such as :


Do you say that ..


Do I understand you well...


If I understand you well, you are saying


Let me summarize at this point.....

Use questions

beginning with :


how ?, what ?, who ?, where ?, when ?


How do you see that ...

Confronting Style :

Show you are an expert a
nd that you stand for your ideas and thoughts.

Make sure there is a clear structure in what you have to say. It should
sound very logic.

Use facts to illustrate.

Confront the other with your expectations, principals, convictions etc.

And be clear about th
e consequences you see.

Use sentences

such as :


this is the way I see it ...


the facts I see tell us ...


I have noticed...


I see the situation you/we are in like this: ...

Do make statements :


My personal opinion is ...


I 'm sure that...


One could say t
hat ...

Do predict :


if ......... then .....


I predict you ....


I see before me ....

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if you don’t do this, then I see the following consequences

Vision building style

Use images in your language, make suggestions in terms of possibilities. Talk about
future vision of the other as if it were already realized. Start talking about


but move to speaking in the
form when you talk about him. Use metaphors. Be
enthusiastic and let this be heard in your voice.

such as :


lets loo
k at ...


suppose we ....


what about ... if we ...

Focus on
the future :


how whould it be for you if ...


but if it depended on you ...


If I were you, I could imagine ...

vision (and images)
and make
concrete the phanatasy of the other :


that reminds m
e ...


it seems that ...


Imagine, one year from now, you are looking back and think :


results I made are ...


now I feel ...


things we have approved on are ...


what else would you say ? For instance :


others will notice...



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This instrument will help you both as a manager and as a consultant. It has been
developed to help people create for themselves a concrete vision of their future

The instrument can be adapted to specific clients and within these clients to s

subjects that are to be taken into consideration.

If you use it later feel free to adapt it to the circumstances of your client.

The use of this instrument is free, but we'd like you to mention the author.

In order to
create a complete future


part covers:


the mission and strategy (who and what do we want to be in 2 years)


the internal organisation


the relationship of the organisation with the environment


part focuses on the process from now till then.

And in the

part we will find a number of questions about how you intend to do
your job in 2 years.

Specific for the approach of visionbuilding is that

we travel through time. We fill
in the questionnaire as if we have already reached the results we want t
o achieve in 2
years. This means in the present tense.

we look back.

We choose this 'looking back from the future'
approach because from our experience
we learned that very often people become defensive when we want them to look
forward from the 'now

They tend to see all kinds of difficulties on the way form 'the now' to 'the future'.

On the other hand thinking from the future evokes energy.

Another important characteristic of this approach is that we do not invite people to
describe the
'ideal situation' to be reached in 2 years.

We want them to give a
realistic image of the future

, taking into consideration the
people in the organisation, the economic situation with it's limitations and posibilities,
and the period of 2 years good work

If we bring people to unrealistic dreams they will not start moving when they wake up!

Such a realistic vision :


will challenge and invite


will generate extra energy


will always be connected to the personal values of the people involved


will invite
the analogical part of the brain (creativity & intuitiveness)

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will be experienced as giving meaning and sense