This is an interesting article about conflict resolution by J. Kim Wright, posted on the American Bar Association website.
The article is geared toward lawyers. But its advice applies well for anyone involved in any type of conflict, including those of you involved in employment disputes.
The article describes five conflict-handling- personality traits: (1) the conflict avoider; (2) the accommodating style; (3) the competing style; (4) the compromising style; and (5) the collaborating style.
Each trait is discussed, as well as its pros and cons, and good and bad situations where each trait should be considered.
One described trait jumped out at me: the competing style, a type of communication I constantly see MISUSED in the employment context. As the article puts it:
The competing style is assertive and uncooperative—a competing individual pursues his or her own concerns at the other person’s expense. This is a power-oriented mode, in which one uses whatever power seems appropriate to win one’s own position: one’s ability to argue, one’s rank, economic sanctions. Competing might mean “standing up for your rights,” defending a position that you believe is correct, or simply trying to win.
For the employment attorneys out there– this is a great blog with up-to-date employment law case summaries from all Circuits.
The blog is authored by Paul Mollica of the Chicago employment law firm Meites, Mulder, Mollica & Glink. Paul is a great colleague for whom the term “lawyer’s lawyer” does not go far enough.
There is an interesting brief here, titled “The Supreme Court’s Two-Front War on the Safety Net: A Cautionary Tale for Health Care Reformers,” by attorneys Simon Lazarus and Harper Jean Tobin of the National Senior Citizens Law Center.
The premise of the brief, in a nutshell, is this:
Over the last several decades, conservative members of the Supreme Court have: (1) used Federal-laws-are-supreme theories to weaken individuals’ rights under ERISA (the law that applies to most middle-class individuals’ health insurance benefits); and (2) used States-laws-are-supreme theories to weaken individuals’ rights under Medicaid laws (which apply to most lower-class individuals’ health insurance benefits).
The article argues that the common denominator of the SC’s legal decisions is not their oft-stated pro-“States’-rights” ideology, or their oft-stated pro-federal-law-supremacy ideology (these ideologies are of course contradictory). Rather, the denominator ideology is to favor businesses’ interests over those of individuals.
Whether or not one believes this article is accurate, I must say I like its approach of looking at what the Court does as opposed to what it says. One of my law school professors once likened watching court decisions to watching mice run in a maze. The chatter is not as important as where they go.
The late George Carlin famously spoke about seven words you can’t say on TV.
Not one to miss a chance to co-opt, I will offer you three words you should NEVER utter in an employment dispute.
Has our country really devolved to the point where if you indicate agreement with another person about a point- about a principle- that this somehow makes you weaker than the person you are agreeing with? Does your agreement on a particular point mean that you are agreeing with your opponent whole scale, about every issue? Does your agreement mean you are conceding, whole scale, that the other person is better-qualified than you to handle an assortment of diverse issues?
These are apparently the assumptions of John McCain and his advisors, whose ad campaign now includes clips of Barack Obama at the debate, stating his agreements with McCain on various points: “You’re right, John.” “You’re absolutely right, John.”
Employees, employers, retirees and everyone else should check out this outstanding post by Professional Life Coach Tim Brownson: “5 Questions That Will Change Your Life.” Mr. Brownson arms readers with 5 questions that you should ask when facing any important life decision- I should note, these questions directly apply to any employment dispute or litigation that you are considering.
The magic questions are these: