Conflict and Unstrategic Fury

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Ruth McCambridge

I tend to be confrontational so I definitely have to work to my “shadow side” when someone does something that causes that familiar haze of unstrategic fury to bubble up in me.

My children testify that this has been a successful endeavor overall, but the other day someone decided to back up over a crosswalk when my daughter and 3-year-old grandson were in it coming within inches of my beloveds and all my good self-training took flight. The driver—an elderly man in a neck brace no less that apparently made it difficult if not impossible to turn his head while in reverse—looked confusedly at me as I demanded (loudly) that he roll down his window so his passenger in the back seat who was a generation less elderly rolled hers down so I could have my say (loudly).

In my defense, there have been a number of incidents of children getting hit in crosswalks by the elderly here the last few years and I am completely freaked out about using them with the kids now, so this was like my worst fear come true. Still, it was not a good scene and I am sure that I accomplished not a thing.

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It is certainly the case that the occasion of conflict causes any of us with good sense to take stock of their interpersonal skills. We ask ourselves did I handle this well or not? Did I say too much? Too little? Did I say it wrong or to the wrong person? Did I flee when I should have stayed? Did I make a veiled remark that I hoped someone might miraculously interpret or act like I did not recognize that conflict was occurring?

There are so many ways to handle conflict badly.

But NPQ, of course, has Dr. Conflict to help you with any conflicts you may be having or expect to have at work.

Is your board acting badly? Is a co-worker misrepresenting something? Is a funder acting in ways that are bad for the work you do? These types of conflicts can be difficult to resolve because in many such situations you are in a continuing relationship with the “other.”

Dr. Conflict is here to advise you in just such a situation. Write to him, describe your conflict and ask him for his advice. We will ensure that your name is kept confidential and that any identifying information is “changed to protect the innocent’ (and even the guilty) if we choose your story for printing.

Meanwhile, have a good long weekend and here is the latest Dr. Conflict column for your reading pleasure.