[Opinion] Charisma and Conflict

The vagaries and gossamer of human communication patterns, dictates that intuition, visualization, rapport, and patience, matter more than the one trait many parties believe matters the most—charisma.

Charisma is fine.

As a matter of face, in the pursuit of persuading parties to get to the table of resolution, charisma will take the 3rd party persuader far.

But the charisma of one party, in the face of the lack of belief of the other party, won’t go far at all.

This seems obvious.

What’s less obvious are the impact of each of the party’s past behaviors, choices, and communication patterns around the four areas that do matter: intuition, visualization, rapport, and patience.

Intuition—the feeling that one party is not being honest, engaging in prevarication, or may have ulterior motives, can be a powerful driver for avoiding resolution. Charisma may serve to buffet intuition, but an impression—a snap judgement, if you will—once made, is almost impossible to charisma away.

Visualizationthe ability to vision a future without a conflict with the other party across the table, has to come from inside each party. When there is no vision, the peace talks perish. Charisma may hold the parties at the table, but charisma can’t replace “buying into” a persuasive vision all parties can visualize.

Rapport—the ability (and desire) to get along (which seems counter-intuitive) matters more in resolving a conflict that most parties would think. But the hope that a future can be better, combined with a positive intuition about the other party’s motives, can water the seed of rapport between parties. Charisma can trigger rapport, but it can’t bring hope.

Patience—in resolving conflicts, patience is an underrated, underappreciated, and under-acknowledged, trait of parties. Patience matters more than charisma. Parties often though are impatient—with outcomes, with the speed (or lack thereof) of the process of resolution, and with the nature of each party themselves. Charisma may help move people toward patience, but it won’t keep them patient.

The parties in conflict who will be the most successful in moving toward resolution and reconciliation, will be the ones who realize that what got them to conflict, isn’t going to get them to a solution.

Much less resolution.

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