Gini Nelson\’s Engaging Conflicts

Why Engaging Conflicts?

What’s so engaging about conflict? First, think about how it catches us up, draws us in, engages us in its myriad forms almost every day. Commuting among aggressive drivers; enduring the “small p” (and not so small) politics of our workplace; negotiating (or not) with our domestic and professional or business partners when our desires differ on how to spend the weekend, or the “extra” $100. Some of us even work directly as conflict specialists, mediating, advising, litigating disputes — it certainly engages us. The truth is, it engages all of us, conflict professionals, business people, individuals and our families, alike. Collectively, we expend a lot of time, money and energy dealing with (or not) … conflict.

Next, consider this definition: “To enter or bring into conflict with, such as in: We have engaged the enemy.[1] Conflict is an enemy to many people – it is experienced as stress, and stress can kill. It certainly worsens the quality of our lives, and of those we care about. We need to engage conflict, face it directly, recognize that it exists everywhere, and that it is part of life and living, so that we can deal with it properly and, in effect, triumph over it where we cannot make peace with it.

In Engaging Conflicts, we will explore both: (1) what makes conflict something that can engage us so overwhelmingly; and (2) tools for understanding and responding to conflict better.

[1] The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2004, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.


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