Friday, January 30, 2009

North Shore Style Perspective: Dealing with Disagreements

This post was made in reflection of numerous group projects throughout my college career. Again I decided to address my strategy for working through problems not only when it concerns group projects, but also personal situations when dealing with disagreements. (Warning: Excuse the sports analogies because frankly…. I am a MAJOR sports enthusiast and I always associate strategy to sports!).

Dealing with Disagreements
The Best Offense is a Great Defense

When people fear being attacked or humiliated, they become defensive. This is only natural. I found that if the conversation gets heated, it’s good to back off and work to re-establish common ground and safety (no that was not a football related pun!). I personally “re-up” my listening efforts. It’s important that others see that you care about their goals, interests and values. If necessary, take a break however; always agree on a time to revisit the topic. I wouldn’t suggest letting the disagreement go unsettled if it’s important.

One strategy I coined for working through problems is “ACE”: Agreeing, constructing & evaluating. When arguments occur, I first look for areas of agreement. I then point out those agreements and build on common ground. Next, I evaluate and compare my perspective with the other person’s and rather than suggesting they’re wrong, I suggest that we differ. Work together to accommodate those differences.

Do you want to WIN, or do you want to solve the problem?

Move away from wanting to win and instead focus on what’s really wanted from the conversation. Maintaining this focus can help deflect defensiveness in ourselves and others (no pun intended sports enthusiast). Don’t be afraid to clarify misinterpretations and apologize. Conversations sometimes hit an impasse. When this occurs:

1) Commit to seek a MUTUAL purpose. An example would be agreeing to work together to find a compromise on dividing the workload.

2) Identify what the other person wants, through asking questions, listening and restating.

3) Create a mutual purpose or goal: “Both of us want to present well in order to get a good grade”.

4) Brainstorm new strategies and solutions (ARealist’s Favorite!).

Make a game plan.

A good end result to a crucial conversation is to have a plan, a move to action. When having a game plan athletes have to be fit and prepared. When we’re under stress, we’re more likely to fall back into negative forms of communicating. To be effective communicators, we must take care of ourselves. Having said that, do you have any tips to handling disagreements?

*image from freedomblogging

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North Shore state of mind

North Shore Style is a fresh and trendy organization (‘company’ is such a constrictive term) that aims to reflect the north shore state of mind. North Shore Style embraces fashion, art, music, creativity, inspiration and the styles of different cultures of the world. Our philosophy represents our attitude toward the ongoing process of unending improvement through the use of expression---creating more than a brand; we’re helping to further develop an entire way of life! The message we want the public to take away is to embrace the unique state of mind that is The North Shore.

Here on the North Shore Style Blog it is our intention to provide content & commentary on our experiences as we grow & develop our business. Additionally, as students we aim to have fun while providing entrainment with our own style and perspectives. In short, were all about increasing our young generations’ awareness and entertainment by sharing our thoughts and experiences. We hope to build long-term relationships with others and most of all have fun in the process. We encourage all to express and share.