Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gather up thy sword and shield ...

I love crisis work. In the workplace, whenever I hear any kind of commotion, instead of going in the opposite direction, I stroll into the hornet's nest, offer help where I can or get out of the way, careful not to get stung.

Personally, I greet conflict like a herd of buffalo. I sidestep the thundering issues or retreat from the stampeding situations until the other party stops advancing. I pull out my vast mediation and negotiation skills to manage the confrontation but forget that 1) I cannot be impartial if I am one of the aggrieved parties and 2) others don't necessarily fight fairly. I'll take a non-aggressive stance and take a verbal sucker punch, emotional low blow or rehashed body slam. In the back of my mind, I know I am capable of giving as good as I get by shouting, cursing, stomping, name calling and saying hurtful things but know that things have a tendency to boomerang and I strive to treat others as I would want to be treated. Regardless, sidestepping or retreating is frequently seen as surrender or cowardice.

Crises and conflict usually appear when there are power and control issues, even if those issues are only perceptual. Power and control has always been low on my list of needs or desires. Alas, as I grow grayer and hopefully wiser, I now realize that many things you must fight for in order to protect your peace-of-mind. I stand my ground for those things that are important, even if only to me. At this point, I don't necessarily expect to win every skirmish but will resist valiantly.

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