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Minor Conflicts: Ignore or Bring Up for Discussion

Thread References

Association helps in learning and building context.
Here are other threads to build more context on how to view conflicts.

Resolving Conflicts at Work - Competition Vs Collaboration, Self-Assessment
Why not escalating all the times? It cuts all the BS!

The second one is important because the thread explains why too much conflict is unhealthy for relationships.
It breaks rappport.

Analysing Minor Conflicts

I believe minor conflicts are common in everyday situations. Just like small power moves.
So it is useful to talk about.
It will make daily life a smoother experience for you and everyone around you.

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on January 7, 2021, 12:55 am on the thread Friendship & Leadership: Taking Over a Group

Many minor conflicts in real life are better left in the rearview mirror (ie.: better moving on).

Assertiveness is great, but it can be over-used if we risk breaking rapport with people we need (something we already talked about), or if we discuss every single small thing (this case).

Minor conflicts from covert and passive aggression can be damaging to a person over time.
Quoted from Power University, it is like death by a thousand paper cuts.

At the same time, bringing up many minor conflicts can break rapport and come across as thin-skinned.
Moreover, it can be not a good use of time and attention.

I'm thinking that the goal here would be to train yourself to use the other more subtle techniques and frame control to tide over these minor conflicts.
This would make conversations smoother in general.
However, if you slip up with these minor conflicts from time to time, you should let these conflicts slide.

My view is that the goal would be to become a man who is efficient at dealing with conflicts.
There will be lots of conflicts, so you have to be selective about how you spend your time.
Best to handle minor conflicts in real-time on the spot, and to let them slide if they don't really matter in the long-run.
Minor conflicts include minor power negotiations, genuine differences in preferences, and actual logistical issues.

From a leadership perspective, there will always be conflicts of interest in any social group.
The reason a team stays together is when there are more synergies in interests (potential for collaboration, value-adding to one another) than conflicts of interests (competition, value-substracting).
In the workplace, for example, your salary is good enough to justify your time spent there and potentially dealing with nasty office politics.

As such, it makes sense to focus time and attention on resolving conflicts where it truly matters.
The small conflicts take away time for more strategic alignment among the team.
For example, it does not make sense for the CEO of a multi-national corporation to resolve the conflict between 2 co-workers.
Though he should create an environment and hire people who can resolve minor conflicts in the company smoothly on a day-to-day basis.
The higher-form of conflict resolution, in this case, is making sure the culture is healthy and managers can set this culture well on all levels.

Re-Framing Conflicts as Long-Term, Relationship Building Instead of Rapport-Breaking

Is it possible to re-frame conflicts from rapport breaking into a collaborative, problem-solving stance to build relationships?
Sometimes, conflict resolution can be re-framed as opportunities for aligning interests.

I'm listening to "The Power of a Positive No" at the moment.
And just finished "Difficult Conversations".

What I realised is that you can re-frame conflicts as relationship building and a way of understanding the other party.
The conflict of interest can even be inherent and genuine in the situation.
The fact that you bring the conflict up respectfully, in an open, seeking-to-understand manner suggests that you value the relationship enough to bring this up.

This is one example where he starts with "First of all, I respect you".
I recalled this scene quoted either in Power University or on another thread.
Unfortunately, I cannot find the reference at this moment in time.

In this case, the father was highly adamant about his point of view.
As such, it did not work.

You can do this in real-time in everyday conversations.
It sounds assertive and respectful.
For example,

(For a conflict due to a difference in opinion)
I respect you and value our working relationship. (or some other variant) (The first Yes from the Power of a Positive No; express that the relationship is important)
We have a difference in opinion and understanding where we each stand can help us work together better in the future. (The relationship is more important than the difference in opinion)
I would like to express my view of the stituation and understand you point of view. (I am here to discuss)
Afterwards, we can work together to see what's best for both of us in this situation. (collaborative framing)

This sets the tone and frame of the conflict resolution as positive, collaborative.

Respectful conflict resolution does not always apply.
For example, when dealing with Machiavellian individuals, strategic maneuvering, and passive aggression may be called for as directness and assertion do not work well.

For Minor Conflicts

I brought this up because I'm brainstorming how to do this for minor conflicts in real-time.
A pattern that could be shorter and smoother.

I believe that the vibe, tone, and body language play a huge part in the interaction.
So you can actually skip the pre-amble through a calm and respectful demeanor.

A generally warm, high-powered demeanor sets this collaborative, assertive tone to people.

For example, a shorter version of the above could be

Thanks for sharing your point of view. (Shows respect and indirectly that you value the relationship)
Let's discuss. (Sets a collaborative problem-solving frame)
My view is ...  (Be assertive about your point of view)
What do you think? (Seek to understand the other person's point of view)

Lucio already brought up great examples on the other thread in John's situation.

In John's example,

  • John: "Ah cool A.!" (this is a "Yes" to him) I already planned other games (true statement, this a "No" to his "proposition") ? . Rather next time with pleasure! (this is a "Yes", saying I'm open to this idea, just not this time)".
  • A.: "No worries".
  • A.: "Saturday is your day"

A follow-up on the group chat could be

John: We are all here to have fun and enjoy ourselves.
I happened to have spent some time making plans for the group.
Thank you for offering to contribute this game on Saturday though.
Let's play this next time!

Minor Conflicts to the Group But Personally Important to You

In some cases, the conflicts are minor to the group but personally important to you.
I would bring this up as well if you have enough social standing within the group.

This is also a sign that you keep your personal autonomy and don't attach your identity too closely to the group.

Another note is that, if you face too many conflicts with the group, it may mean that the group does not suit your values and goals.
It may mean that it is time to search for other groups/ponds.
Or even build your own pond.

Lucio Buffalmano and naathh12@gmail.com have reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmanonaathh12@gmail.com

Awesome thread, Matthew.

Link-worthy from PU, I think.

Matthew: Minor conflicts from covert and passive aggression can be damaging to a person over time.
Quoted from Power University, it is like death by a thousand paper cuts. At the same time, bringing up many minor conflicts can break rapport and come across as thin-skinned.

Yes.
So, how to decide when to address, or when to let it slip?

I think 3 crucial questions here are:

  • Can I efficiently solve this specific issue?

That's the simplified version of " does solving this issue bring more benefits than it cost me to address it, or can I solve it at a higher level of effectiveness"?

As Matthew says:

it makes sense to focus time and attention on resolving conflicts where it truly matters

And, when it comes to specific individuals:

  • How important is this person in my life?

Rule: the more important they are, the more you want to address and bring things up for discussion.

  • Do they have the potential to be better persons?

Rule: the more potential they have, the more you can/want to address and bring things up for discussion.

A 4th question would be "how much do you need to learn about assertiveness / social dynamics", and the more you need to learn, the more you'll benefit from bringing things up for learning's sake, but the above two questions are more relevant for "social effectiveness".


As an example, in the relationship forum I detailed two cases of escalating and addressing what could have seemed minor issues.

But it was because that person was close to me, and because I believed they had the potential for listening, learning, and becoming a better person with whom to have better relationships (plus, in the case of relationships, bringing things up also makes you more the leader).

But if the same had happened within a group, or with an acquaintance, I'd have let it slip.

So a rule of thumb, if it's someone close, and if you think they have better potential within themselves, then address the majority of the issues, since that serves to positively shape the relationship.
And even if it doesn't work, you still get great feedback on whether or not things can work out between you two.

As Matthew said above: "if you face too many conflicts with the group, it may mean that the group does not suit your values and goals.
It may mean that it is time to search for other groups/ponds".

Matthew: I'm thinking that the goal here would be to train yourself to use the other more subtle techniques and frame control to tide over these minor conflicts.
This would make conversations smoother in general.

Yes, exactly.
Just apply proper power dynamics principles, defend your status / moral standing if it's under attack, and otherwise, just treat it as a small obstacle to move around towards your goal.

Matthew: From a leadership perspective, there will always be conflicts of interest in any social group.

Exactly, some conflicts are natural and embedded in the relationship, which is another reason why "bringing them to the surface" won't do anything good but only thread-amplify the "issues", while you could instead thread-amplify the collaboration opportunities, or the generally more positive aspects of the exchange/relationship.

Ali Scarlett, Matthew Whitewood and naathh12@gmail.com have reacted to this post.
Ali ScarlettMatthew Whitewoodnaathh12@gmail.com
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

By the way, where do you think this thread would fit best?

Assertiveness lesson, or the general strategies' one?

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

This is fantastic! Thanks for expanding on this topic further.
I really enjoy learning about assertiveness, conflict resolution, and strategies for collaboration.

In my opinion, it would fit in well with the assertiveness lesson.
At the same time, putting an additional brief mention in general strategies would be good as well.
To put a nice touch on the intuition of building personal power through collaborative relationships.

I suggested this to be under the assertiveness lesson by thinking from a Power University student's perspective.
When someone encounters a conflict, it would be natural to look up the lesson on assertiveness.
Then the individual can think about whether this conflict is worth resolving.
And, if the conflict is worth resolving, he can check out the techniques to assert boundaries while maintaining a collaborative frame.

Under general strategies, we could reference the assertiveness lesson for more details.
While painting this strategy as part of the larger context of collaborative strategies.

Awesome, thank you Matthew, added!

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Big thank you to everyone involved in this thread.

I'm thinking of this thread in terms of, "How to know when to ignore a value-taking comment," and the feedback here is very helpful. All noted in my journal.

I was also thinking of these two:

  • Is it low on the aggression scale?

It can likely be ignored if you decide you simply don't have the energy for the games and it's anywhere on these levels of the aggression scale:

- Negative level: Submits / give power away / empowers you / etc.

- Level 0. Neutral: Does not take nor remove any power from you (assertive)

- Levels 1./2. Nano-aggression: Non-value taking joke, light teasing, etc.

- Levels 3./4./5. Microaggression: Indirect criticism / one-upping / value-taking jokes & teasing / rubbing it in / mocking body language / etc.

Anything above that, and you must respond to avoid losing too much social power. And, if it's a case where you've already ignored one or two microaggressions, it is also wise to respond to avoid losing your social power to "death by a thousand cuts".

  • Do I know what to say?

Expanding on, "Can I efficiently solve this issue?" is, "Do I know what to say?" (i.e. asking yourself what frame control techniques and/or microaggression strategy would be best here that you want to use.)

If you can't answer that question, this is another case where simply opting for frame ignoring isn't the worst idea. You can always review what happened and journal a strategy that would have fit the situation later.

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Matthew Whitewood
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