What Did You Expect?
Written by Sherri Lojzer
May 9, 2016
Managing conflict is rocky seas for most people. Everyday we encounter things that can become, or do become conflict. It may only be a minor disagreement with a family member that’s forgotten moments later or it could become an all-encompassing, seething dispute that erupts dramatically. Regardless of the size or seriousness of it, one of the key factors in conflict is expectations. Think for a moment of every time in the recent weeks that you’ve encountered conflict. Now ask yourself “What were my expectations in that moment?” Be really honest and identify them in a bullet list without emotion.
• I expected my colleague would complete this task • I expected there would be a report back • I expected results from that task
Now ask yourself “What did the other person know?” and “What was their expectation?” Can you create the same kind of list for them? Once we can refocus our attentions on the issues and not on the emotional reaction to your disappointment of the other person, we are in a better place to consider why the conflict occurred. Removing judgement and emotion is the key to returning to good decision-making, problem-solving and problem-centred communication rather than self-centred expectations.