Create Healthy Conflict in Your Team or Organisation
Most organisations suffer from conflict, as we humans seem to do in our daily lives. Find out the very first step to healthy conflict right here.
While conflict has many roots and causes most people tend to approach its resolution by understanding it mentally, emotionally, politically and culturally. These all play a part but they omit one fundamental aspect. – The body.
One of my best teachers Paul Linden Phd points this out.
“Conflict evokes in us physiological fight-or-flight arousal, and…constrains us to think and behave in ways which perpetuate and escalate conflict. However peaceful a person may wish to be, their capacity to think, talk and act peacefully will be undermined if their body is not in a state of peace”. Here’s an obvious example.
Did you watch Donald Trump attempting to make peace after his recent comments about women and grabbing personal body-parts?
You could see he had prepared the language he wanted to convey – slightly, more conciliatory than usual but what gave him away was his body.
In the first part of his piece to camera his language focused on his ‘apology’, his move towards empathy for females, the second part defending and criticising others surrounding the event.
In both sections of the video, his embodiment – how he chose to hold himself in his body – remained the same. There was no difference between empathy and attack/defend.
Creating healthy conflict starts with how we are in our body. Because its what our body is saying that creates a loop of signals and counter reactions between others and ourselves.
In an instant we trigger each other into conflict (contraction) or towards peace (openness) through perceptions of each other; perceived via our body.
The challenge for us all, including Mr. Trump, is we don’t always realise we have a conscious choice about our embodiment and how it is integral to the outcome of peace, communication, engagement and trust.
Donald Trump’s Embodiment: Contraction or Openness?
Donald Trump held one position throughout the piece to camera that included
- Tense, rounded, forward leaning shoulders
- Narrow focus of attention
- Head and lips push forward
- Tense forehead
- Finger pointing
Grab 60 seconds of uninterrupted time and try this exercise
- Stand like Donald Trump and notice – The feelings and sensations it creates (relaxed, open, tense, contracted, etc.,) – The perceptions you have of yourself in this embodiment (conciliatory, attack, defend, normal, comfortable, uncomfortable etc.,) – If you have someone you can trust watching you ask them for their perceptions of you.
- Stand imagining you are in connection and empathy with someone you value is deeply hurt and suffering. – Notice the different embodiment – Notice the difference in feelings and perceptions between the two – If you have someone you can trust watching you asking them for their perceptions of the differences.
Next time, when you’re intention is to be at peace or in healthy conflict notice what you embody: Trump or empathy?
Ask yourself: How is this likely to impact the situation or desired outcome?
Once we have made ourselves conscious to what we automatically embody we can then unlearn the embodiment through specific practices.
In future blogs on this topic we will build on our approach to creating healthy conflict. Such as through the cognitive and language skills we can utilise.
Until then if you would like more insights and practices to create healthy conflict contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org