Re: The Martial Art of Difficult Conversations
Good read Kevin. As pointed out, these strategic points are often discussed in a contrived scenario. There are dozens of help books that navigate the same principles through similar examples...but I believe that most of the points are good ones.
I advocate projecting the authority and responsibility necessary to resolve an issue - unless you are unable to resolve the issue. If you are unable to resolve an issue, you involve the appropriate individuals who are empowered to resolve the issue. In this article I would say that police are not the appropriate escalation unless you are incapable of resolving the issue without assistance. If you do not require the police, the escalation was not only unecessary but will also remove police from other situations in which their presence may be needed. We have an obligation to take personal responsibility for our actions, and we need the courage to stand up for those decisions. In the article, the married couple take personal responsibility for their actions and I like that part.
I also generally support the golden rule. In the article, While I may not have made the same decision to park my car in a vulnerable location, I would certainly appreciate some consideration if I found myself looking for a towed car. Understanding a decision has nothing to do acknowledging the validity of the point of view, only the appreciation for how the decision was derived. Sometimes we think that in order to understand one side of an argument, our mindset has to be aligned with the point of view that creates the argument.
These two points in mind, I will also say that there is some truth to the "roll over" theory when this sort of tactic is displayed in responding to conflict. First, as soon as you express the need to include greater authority figures [than yourself] you reduce your stature as a role player in resolving the conflict. Second, when you do not shoulder personal responsiblity you reduce your ethos in the initial decision leading to the conflict, which further reduces your stature. The sum of these two actions is that you are not important, nor are you capable of resolving the conflict. In my business this opens the door for abusive interaction as you have just set yourself up to be only part of the problem, not part of the solution - you become expendable.
Finally, in the tactical argument I use chess as a good example of threat assessment. When you play chess if you do not assess the inherint danger of each of your opponents pieces, you will leave yourself vulnerable to longer developments that will expose and capture your pieces. Similary, if you are in a situation and assessing the [immediate] potential dangers, you are assessing out of reaction and vulnerable to danger from beyond your scope of assessment. In the example, the mother reacted poorly in her assessment of the situation created by the decision made by the married couple. The mother excluded the potential situation she created by not informing her neighbors of her son's visit. I believe in verbal conflict, finding a key piece of information which precluded the opposition from making the correct assessment of a situation is often the catalyst that starts the resolution. "Oh...I don't know that...bah blah blah."