Instructions: Respond with thoughtful comments to three of your classmates’ posts on Cloke and Goldsmith
For strategy 2 of the Cloke & Goldsmith text this quote caught my attention, “For example, there are significant differences between men and women in how they listen and interpret communication” (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2011, p. 31). I found this quote of interest because I’ve heard many times that men and women listen and communicate differently. For example, based on recent research women were more likely to be behind schedule because they were less likely to cut off their clients mid-conversation when their time was up. However, personally, I haven’t really noticed a difference, it has more to do with an individual’s personality I would say.
For strategy 3 of the Cloke & Goldsmith text this quote caught my attention, “As a result of uncovering and sharing these deeper elements in the iceberg of their conflict, Isabel and Miguel were able to acknowledge the pain they had caused each other and apologize for not having been better communicators” (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2011, p. 68). This quote caught my attention because it deals with miscommunication and how something that might have bothered one party combined with miscommunication can lead to the situation escalating very often with false accusations. In this example, Isabel said that Miguel was sexually harassing her. She then admitted that she only framed it as such but that Miguel was actually stalking her. However, an even deeper dive revealed that Isabel was exaggerating Miguel’s behavior because she had a grudge against him from years before. And an even deeper dive revealed that Isabel had been the victim of sexual assault when she was a child and that’s why her feelings were mixed.
For strategy 4 of the Cloke & Goldsmith text this quote caught my attention, “Emotions are complex. They can be expressed in ways that are constructive or destructive, pleasurable or painful, positive or negative, distorting or clarifying, escalating or de-escalating, collaborative or adversarial, reactive or preventative” (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2011, p. 94). This quote caught my attention because emotions are indeed a very complex thing. It’s very true that while emotions can be a very positive thing it also has the potential to become something negative, it really depends on how you channel the emotions. Emotions are so complex that no one really knows how someone might react, or even understand why they reacted this way. This quote ties into the quote that I chose for strategy 3 because many times emotions are tied to a whole iceberg and while it’s just the tip that we see when people react with emotions there are a whole lot of layers below the surface.
Reflection: Strategy 2, Strategy 3, and Strategy 4
Strategy 2: Listen Empathetically and Responsively
In the book. Cloke and Goldsmith explain how to Listen Empathetically and Responsively in Strategy 2. The authors begin Strategy 2 by explaining that conflicts arise because of miscommunications. Actively listening empathetically and responsively will promote effective communication and approach conflict with more positivity.
The first quote that stood out to me was “Effective listening does not actually start with listening, rather it begins when the listener clears the decks and focuses his or her undivided attention on the person who is about to speak” (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2011, p.35). When working with my supervisor, her effective listening starts by putting away all distractions such as her phone, and not looking at anything else, but me. With so many distractions in our daily lives, it is important to listen actively while applying body language too. Additionally, undivided attention saves time and reduces miscommunications.
The second quote from Strategy 2 that stood out to me was, “When we do not listen to our opponents or recognized the legitimacy of their needs and interests, we become incapable of participating in honest, empathetic dialogue, and unable to communicate effectively or solve the problem” (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2011, p. 55). This quote resonated with me because communicating effectively to solve conflict can be achieved if both people are listening to each other. It is very hard for individuals to recognize that their opponents’ needs and interests are as important. It is also very important to listen to their opponent because it demonstrates empathetic dialogue, and stimulates a more productive conversation instead of an angry one.
Strategy 3: Search Beneath the surface for hidden meanings
Cloke and Goldsmith demonstrate in Strategy 3 that the reason individuals respond to conflict the way they do is that we are not aware of the deeper layers we have. The iceberg of conflict reveals the understanding of how they all connect while we engage in conflict with others.
The first quote that resonated with me was, “Each workplace department, level, and function create its own language, and each team, group, clique, and the relationship does so as well” (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2011, p.75). I agree with this quote wholeheartedly because I had to learn this in a professional environment there is a certain language that everyone works in order to resolve problems while we have our own language of conflict. The ability to understand the unique language allows individuals to understand the conflict that arises with their colleagues and how to provide resolutions that everyone will understand. It is amazing to know that there is a language of conflict in the way we experience conflict.
The second quote that stood out to me was, “Unfortunately, aggressive, hostile, warlike attitudes and a willingness to do battle against our opponents are richly rewarded in many highly competitive organization cultures” (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2011, p. 80). As a result, many individuals avoid conflicts because they want to avoid aggression between colleagues. Individuals become too afraid to speak up and are passive about their needs and wants. If corporations continue to reward aggressive competitive behavior, there would be no collaboration involved between colleagues and there would be no motivation for teamwork.
Strategy 4: Acknowledge and reframe emotions
In Strategy 4, Cloke and Goldsmith explain the importance of emotional intelligence when handling conflict. Emotions are powerful forces that individuals need to self-regulate in order to provide resolutions.
The first quote that stood out to me was, “Emotions are present in all our relationships, even when they do not appear on the surface or reveal themselves in an obvious way” (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2011, p. 97). This quote is very true whether in our professional or personal life. In some cultures, we are forced to suppress our emotions, but they exist in order for us to form healthy relationships. Individuals who acknowledge that emotions are normal to have and present in our lives can engage in conflict in healthier ways.
The second quote that resonated with me, “Most of us have difficulty expressing intense emotions because we are afraid, we will not be able to communicate them constructively, or skillfully, or contain their destructive potential” (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2011, p. 100). In a professional setting, it is difficult to express emotions, especially in a middle of a disagreement or conflict. It takes a certain level of skill to be able to read the situation, understand body language, and listen actively while not being afraid at the same time. If we can overcome the fear, we have of expressing our intense emotions, it can unite people to work together and provide more resolutions to the conflicts we deal with at work and in our personal lives.
From reading strategy 1 to strategy 4, the topic of conflict affects a lot of our daily lives. The ability to understand the culture and changing aspects of the conflict is important. The five responses to conflict lead to better communication with others. I also thought that listening empathetically and responsively was a very important chapter. Effective communications begin with no distraction and attentive listening. It also engages people to be more empathetic with one another who is in conflict. The approach to emotion is actually very hard. We all have different upbringings and are passionate about different conflicts. Emotional intelligence is important to practice while dealing with emotions in conflict.
The book Resolving Conflicts at Work: Ten Strategies for Everyone on the Job Strategies 2, 3 & 4 focuses on listening emphatically, hidden meanings, and acknowledging emotions. The first set of chapters focuses a lot on the emotional aspects of resolving conflicts, which I believe are very important because to have the tools to resolve conflicts eventually, you should understand them in general and, most importantly, an understanding of yourself.
A Brief Reflection on Resolving Conflicts: Strategies 2, 3 & 4
Strategy 2: Listen Emphatically & Responsively
According to Cloke & Goldsmith, “effective listening does not start with listening, rather it begins when the listener clears the decks and focuses his or her undivided attention on the person who is about to speak” (pg. 35). There are many reasons why someone might have a hard time listening and responding, and this quote stuck with me because it called out the reason I have a hard time listening. Being an introvert, I spend time planning my responses while someone speaks to me. As a result, I worry about saying the wrong things or not getting my point across entirely. Unfortunately, I need to become an effective listener to have the skills to resolve conflict eventually.
Strategy 3: Search Beneath the Surface for Hidden Meanings
The quote in this strategy that stuck with me was, “by regarding your conflict as a journey, process, or voyage that takes you to a new location, you transcend the idea that you are trapped by it” (pg. 83). This is a great quote; when someone is involved in a conflict, it feels like a crutch, like there is something that you are trying to get through but you cannot. And to think of that conflict as just another part of your journey, something that will assist you in your growth will make all the difference. I will remember this quote throughout my life, and I hope that when I face conflicts, this will remind me of my journey and make things easier to deal with. This quote does not just apply to work conflict; it can pertain to anything going on in your life, and I appreciated reading this section.
Strategy 4: Acknowledge and Reframe Emotions
The final quote I enjoyed from Strategy 4, which deals with emotions, is, “the primary purpose of working through our negative emotions is not to settle or resolve them, but to accept, acknowledge, integrate, and thereby transcend them, so they become our teachers and release us from their grip” (pg.130). It is rarely thought of to have negative emotions and accept them for what they are; no one wants to admit being negative. But we all have to remember that we’re human and we make mistakes, it we can take those emotions and look at them as a lesson. I love the idea that we can release them from our grip because we usually witness those negative emotions at work or in life, and we bury them deep and forget about them. Still, we can never grow if we avoid those emotions, and they can have a grip on us like Cloke & Goldsmith mentioned.
Reading Strategies 2, 3, and 4 pertained to work conflicts, but in dealing with emotions in general, we have conflicts in our daily lives, often with our families, friends, and work. So not only were these strategies so beneficial in remaining professional and trying to resolve relationships in the workplace, but they will be highly beneficial in our relationships. They can help us build better relationships with those we love.
Cloke, K., & Goldsmith, J. (2011). Resolving conflicts at work: Ten strategies for everyone on the job. John Wiley & Sons.