Conflict is ever present in the workplace, sapping workers and managers of time and strength that could otherwise be devoted to more productive tasks. Fortunately, there is a way to replace the negative mindset with one that will unlock one’s unique capabilities. In his new book PLAYING THE ACE: The Definitive Guide To Conflict Resolution At Work, Home And Everywhere Else, published by Sandler Training, former Marine and veteran sales trainer Tim Goering, provides tools to improve communication skills and resolve overt or suppressed conflict situations constructively.
Conflict generally has its roots in roles that people are taught to play at a very young age, called the Drama Triangle: Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer.
- Victim Feels powerless and looks for a rescuer to fulfil their needs and wants.
- Persecutor Sets unnecessary rules and blames others for what happens, and has an overriding need to be right in all situations.
- Rescuer Feels obligated to help others without being asked, and is quick to support others’ perception of being weak.
In the workplace, conflict manifests itself in the form of people bringing work frustrations home, and vice versa. Expectations are poorly defined, resulting in lengthy unproductive meetings that breed even more ambiguity and frustration.
PLAYING THE ACE outlines a method for overcoming these negative attitudes and behaviors, which Goering calls A.C.E.:
A – Assertive The antidote for Persecutor behavior is to be assertive, in a nurturing way, rather than aggressive.
C – Change The antidote to Victim behavior is to express vulnerability. People can choose to be defined by their own past or they can choose to change by defining their own future.
E – Empowerment The antidote to Rescuing behavior is to set boundaries while empowering others. Empowering people in clearly defined areas of mutual advantage is the opposite of enabling their less than desirable behaviors.