Conflict without Casualties 2

A Field Guide for Leading with Compassionate Accountability

Nate Regier (Author)

Publication date: 04/24/2017

Conflict without Casualties
When leaders learn how to manage the emotions and drama in their organizations, conflict can be made healthier. Nate Regier uses the Drama Triangle Model and the Compassion Cycle to show leaders how to exercise compassion, not passion, and turn the negative energy of conflict into a positive energy for increased productivity and growth.Make Conflict Your Partner for Positive Change!

Clinical psychologist and transformative communication expert Dr. Nate Regier believes that the biggest energy crisis facing our world is the misuse of conflict. Most organizations are terrified of conflict, seeing it as a sign of trouble. But conflict isn't the problem, says Regier. It's all about how we use the energy.

When people misuse conflict energy, it becomes drama: they struggle against themselves or each other to feel justified about their negative behavior. The cost to companies, teams, and relationships is staggering. The alternative, says Regier, is compassionate accountability: struggling
with others through conflict. Discover the Compassion Cycle, an elegant model for balancing empathy, care, and transparency with boundaries, goals, and standards. Provocative, illuminating, and highly practical, this book helps us avoid the casualties of conflict through openness, resourcefulness, and persistence.

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Overview

When leaders learn how to manage the emotions and drama in their organizations, conflict can be made healthier. Nate Regier uses the Drama Triangle Model and the Compassion Cycle to show leaders how to exercise compassion, not passion, and turn the negative energy of conflict into a positive energy for increased productivity and growth.Make Conflict Your Partner for Positive Change!

Clinical psychologist and transformative communication expert Dr. Nate Regier believes that the biggest energy crisis facing our world is the misuse of conflict. Most organizations are terrified of conflict, seeing it as a sign of trouble. But conflict isn't the problem, says Regier. It's all about how we use the energy.

When people misuse conflict energy, it becomes drama: they struggle against themselves or each other to feel justified about their negative behavior. The cost to companies, teams, and relationships is staggering. The alternative, says Regier, is compassionate accountability: struggling
with others through conflict. Discover the Compassion Cycle, an elegant model for balancing empathy, care, and transparency with boundaries, goals, and standards. Provocative, illuminating, and highly practical, this book helps us avoid the casualties of conflict through openness, resourcefulness, and persistence.

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Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - Nate Regier

Nate Regier is the CEO and cofounder of Next Element, a global leadership advisory firm. He is a former practicing psychologist and holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Kansas. He is currently adjunct professor at Pepperdine University s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.

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Excerpt

Conflict without Casualties

ONE

Conflict

THE BIG BANG OF COMMUNICATION

“A problem only exists if there is a difference between what is actually happening and what you desire to be happening.”

—Ken Blanchard

At the most basic level, conflict is a gap between what we want and what we are experiencing at any given moment. Conflict is everywhere. I want my latte in my hands before 7:50 a.m. so I can get to work on time, and the line is long at Starbucks. I want my team to come together around our strategic vision, and they have lot of questions. I want to feel rested tomorrow, and I also want to stay up tonight to watch three episodes of my favorite show on Netflix. I want to be recognized for my hard work on a project, and my client criticizes it. I want to feel settled about a decision, and my gut clenches whenever I think of it. I want to feel confident that my sales team will positively represent our brand in front of customers, and they question each other’s integrity. I want to feel safe in my house, and I am afraid because two families in my neighborhood have been victims of recent break-ins. What happens when conflict occurs? Where do you feel it? Does your heart rate soar? What about your stomach? Does it churn or tighten up? Perhaps your hands get cold and clammy or your neck gets hot. Does your hair stand up on the back of your neck? Maybe you notice racing thoughts or extreme emotions. Some people shut down. Some people lash out. Some people have learned to take it in stride. But for most of us, conflict is stressful. The more conflict we experience, the bigger the emotional, physical, and psychological toll it takes on us.

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CONFLICT GENERATES ENERGY

Before evaluating whether conflict is good or bad, or how we should respond to it, it’s important to recognize that conflict generates energy. That energy shows up in a variety of ways. It could show up in racing thoughts and fantasies about what to do next. It could show up in increased heartbeat and flushed face caused by increased cortisol levels in the bloodstream. It could show up as an overwhelming desire to fight back or run away.

Conflict generates energy, pure and simple. And conflict is unavoidable. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that conflict is part of the grand design of the universe. I’m convinced that conflict is a necessary part of our human experience. Humans are created to be different from each other. Because of this we will inevitably have different needs, wants, and pursuits. When these come into contact with each other, conflict occurs.

Conflict is energy. Conflict is unavoidable. The only real question is: what will you do with the energy created by conflict? How will you spend it?

WHEN CONFLICT COMES KNOCKING, HOW DO YOU STRUGGLE?

Our experience working in thousands of interpersonal conflict situations shows that when conflict occurs, human beings struggle. We spend the energy struggling. That struggle seems to take one of two forms: we either struggle against or we struggle with.

Struggling against is a process of opposition and destruction. It’s about taking sides, forming camps, viewing the struggle as a win-lose proposition, and adopting an adversarial attitude toward resolving the discrepancy between what we want and what we’re getting. Struggling against is everywhere. It’s in politics and religion. On the news. On social media. Look no further than a typical Facebook post to see self-righteous, moralistic, opinionated, and dogmatic attitudes that create and maintain polarized “us vs. them” struggles.

Struggling with is a process of mutuality and creation. It’s about seeing the solution as a two-way street, viewing the struggle as an opportunity for a win-win outcome, and adopting an attitude of shared responsibility for resolving the discrepancy between what we want and what we are experiencing.

“The purpose of conflict is to create.”

—Michael Meade

A friend of mine, the poet, psychologist, mythologist, and musician Michael Meade, says “the purpose of conflict is to create.” Wow, that’s a strong statement! I agree. If conflict is inevitable and it generates energy, and if creating something new requires energy, then all the pieces are in place. The determining factor is whether the energy of conflict will be used productively to create, or destructively to tear down. That choice is up to us. Each one of us has the power to transform the energy of conflict into a creative force.

This notion of conflict is quite different from what I was taught in school, and even what I see in most leadership literature. Conventional wisdom says that conflict is supposed to be managed, reduced, or controlled. Why? Because most people are accustomed to struggling against during conflict. When we ask people what’s the first thing that comes to mind when they think of conflict, they nearly always use phrases like, “very stressful,” “people get hurt,” “nothing good comes out of it,” “I avoid it if I can,” or “I gotta win.” We rarely hear an enthusiastic endorsement of conflict as a creative force. We also rarely meet a leader who has mastered the art of positive, generative conflict.

DRAMA AND COMPASSION

Two critical concepts in this book, and in our entire philosophy of transformative communication, are Drama and Compassion. You will see these themes repeated, expanded and applied throughout this book and our work at Next Element.

Drama is the result of mismanaging the energy of conflict. It diverts energy towards the pursuit of self-justification, one of the strongest human urges and one that almost always gets us into trouble.

The word compassion originates from the Latin root meaning “co-suffering.” Com means “with” or “together” or “alongside.” Passion means suffering or struggling. Together, these reveal a process of struggling with others.

Compassion is the result of people taking ownership of their feelings, thoughts and behaviors, and choosing to spend the energy of conflict pursuing effective solutions that preserve the dignity of all involved. Compassion is more than care and concern for others. It’s about the willingness to get in the trenches and struggle together as an equal with others.

The greatest change agents in history, those who have made the biggest positive difference, have practiced this kind of compassion. From Gandhi to Mandella, Mother Theresa to Martin Luther King, each has struggled with instead of against. The next chapter unpacks the dynamics, behaviors, and consequences of drama, which is what happens when people struggle against themselves and each other.

Appendix A is a Personal Development Guide, that is geared specifically for those who would like to go deeper with the concepts from each chapter. Use this guide in your personal development, with your coach or counselor, or with a trusted friend or mentor. The guide is organized by chapter number and title so you can easily find the applicable items.

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Endorsements

Conflict without Casualties fills a gap by showing leaders at any level how to leverage positive conflict. Practical, insightful, challenging, relevant.”
—Dan Pink, New York Times bestselling author

“Who could ever think of conflict as creative? Nate Regier, that's who. In
Conflict without Casualties, Nate introduces the concept of compassionate accountability—holding someone, including yourself, accountable while preserving one's dignity. His strategies are effective at work and at home—at every level. Don't shy away from conflict; face it with creativity and compassion and watch things change for the better.”
—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The New One Minute Manager® and Collaboration Begins with You

“We all know that drama will suck the energy out of your day, your department, and your company, but no one has identified with as much precision as Regier how to eliminate the drama and suffuse the workplace with more creativity, accountability, and productivity than ever. A revolutionary resource!”
—Marshall Goldsmith, international bestselling author or editor of thirty-five books, including What Got You Here Won't Get You There and Triggers

“A must-read that offers a simple, powerful model for transforming conflict, drama, and negative energy into compassionate accountability and a stronger, more united team.”
—Jon Gordon, bestselling author of The Energy Bus and The Carpenter

Conflict without Casualties is powerful but in a practical way. Dr. Regier provides a compelling model to demonstrate how the energy created by conflict can be utilized for positive change—for individuals, within relationships, for organizations, and even for world crises. His analysis of the dynamics within the ‘drama triangle' of persecutor-victim-rescuer clarifies most of the dysfunction seen in workplace relationships. The beauty of the concept, however, blossoms more fully as he describes the positive power created from the ‘compassion cycle' of openness-resourcefulness-persistence. Thought-provoking yet easy to read and comprehend, this book is highly recommended to anyone interested in transforming the negative cycles in relationships (both work-based and personal) into the energy that will fuel positive growth.”
—Paul White, PhD, coauthor of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, Rising above a Toxic Workplace, and Sync or Swim

“Nate Regier takes the old idea that creativity is the hidden purpose behind conflict and opposition in this world and applies it to many practical and important areas of human endeavor. His work with compassionate engagement can help sustain relationships of all kinds.”
—Michael Meade, author of Fate and Destiny and Why the World Doesn't End

“The world needs Next Element's brilliant model for transforming conflict into productive change. Nate's book profoundly improved my mindset and gave me the tools to have powerful relationship-building conversations. I recommend it to everyone who wants to live authentically and influence others.”
—Vicki Halsey, PhD, Vice President, The Ken Blanchard Companies, and author of the bestselling Brilliance by Design

“I found
Conflict without Casualties to be very practical and accurate as a comprehensive approach to conflict—especially workplace conflict. I really enjoyed its thoughtfulness and sensitivity and the author's personal openness in explaining the development of the theory and steps of Next Element's compassion cycle. The examples were particularly helpful, and one of the sample quotes gave me words I can use in an upcoming conflict situation.”
—Bill Eddy, coauthor of It's All Your Fault at Work and President, High Conflict Institute

“This book is a wonderful and powerful resource. I can see how ORPO can be leveraged in innovation and teams for real breakthroughs—without the casualties!”
—Chris Donlon, Senior Field Umpire and Grand Final Umpire, Australian Rules Football



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