[ICYMI] Unpacking Other People’s Laundry

Unpacking assumptions is the first piece of the engagement process with conflicts in your workplace.

It’s hard enough to be confronted by the results of our faulty assumptions, but it is even more difficult to begin to unpack beliefs, values and perceptions that we have held for years.

In a conflict, we fail to unpack three areas:

  • Our Assumptions: The things that drive us are the things that hold us back. Typically they begin with the words “should” or “ought.” Our assumptions also color how we deal with (or ignore/dismiss) the other two areas.
  • Their Assumptions: The things that drive the other party are either dismissed, ignored or not fully understood by either party. Those drivers typically are prefaced by “they should” or “they ought.”
  • The Problem’s Assumptions: “There is only one way to solve an issue and it’s the way that benefits us the most. And, people are most always the problem because they won’t change. Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with me in this situation that solving the problem won’t solve.” These few sentences serve to build a foundation for continued disputes embedded in the conflict process. They assumptions inherent in them act as a concrete base, never allowing the problem to inch toward resolution and shutting down engagement.

With the level of knowledge to which we have access these days, the hard work that matters involves caring enough to seek out resources that can help get past the uncomfortability, fear and cowardice of the results of unpacking before engaging in the process of resolution.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA

Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
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