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Civility Toolkit

Conflict is normal and neutral.

How do we manage it to make it most productive for everyone? 

  • Compromise does not equal losing
  • Arguments tend to block meaning

Ten civility strategies when views differ 

The Three Unspoken Conversations always taking place during a conflict:

  • How do they impact what is expressed and understood? The “What Happened” Conversation: Talking to oneself about who said/did what, and who’s to blame
  • The Feelings Conversation: Are my feelings valid, appropriate? What do I do about that person’s feelings?
  • The Identity Conversation: Does this conflict mean I am competent, loved, good, worthy, I belong or the opposite? When they question actions, are they questioning my rights to be here and be who I am?

The Three Assumptions vs. benefit of the doubt

  • The Truth Assumption: I am right and you are wrong
  • The Intention Invention: When the other person’s intentions are unclear a common perception is that they are bad
  • The Blame Frame: Believing the other is to blame for the problem

The above material was derived from "Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss what Matters Most" by Stone, Patton, Heen & Fisher, Penguin Group, 1999. 

Are people perceiving me the way I want to be perceived? 

Perceptions involve both people.

  • What messages am I sending?
  • How do differences in personality impact perceptions?
  • How can my consciousness of this help people perceive me more accurately?