Is it Time to Find a New Filter for Your Conflict?

Tammy Lenski’s Conflict Zen Blog

You can’t change an ongoing state of conflict by viewing it repeatedly from the same perspective. You’ve got to find a new filter or two.

Years ago, I bought a pair of sports sunglasses with swappable lenses for differing conditions. I didn’t take the time to experiment with the different lenses and settled into wearing the dark gray lenses all the time. They did the job well enough.

Until I discovered they didn’t. One day while cleaning out a drawer I came across the other lenses and the booklet describing their best uses. Next time out in my kayak, I tried the amber lenses for better contrast and found it easier to see large boulders lurking just beneath the water surface. Hiking on a rainy day, I found the light-enhancing lenses better for the dull light conditions.

The approaches you typically use to resolve conflict are like wearing a single pair of lenses. They work well enough most of the time. But for conflict that’s gotten stuck, they cause you to miss opportunities and stumble more than necessary. You don’t notice the hidden boulders beneath the surface until you bump into them. You slip more frequently on the slick muddy surface of the trail.

When a conflict gets stuck, you need a new filter to help you see what you’re missing. Sometimes you need several filters. Those filters can be things like these:

A friend who helps you not by soothing, not by giving advice, but by lovingly challenging your thinking.
A mediator. The best of us know how to help you view the conflict through more effective filters.
A conflict coach. The best of us know how to help you develop your own capacity to find and use new filters.
An approach designed to cause lens swapping. I hope my forthcoming The Conflict Pivot will be that for you.
A jolt out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you get lucky and the universe helps you out.
Do you have a story about changing filters and seeing something in a new way? I’d love to hear it in the comments.

                        author

Tammy Lenski

Dr. Tammy Lenski helps individuals, pairs, teams, and audiences navigate disagreement better, address friction, and build alignment. Her current work centers on creating the conditions for robust collaboration and sound decisions while fostering resilient personal and professional relationships. Her conflict resolution podcast and blog, Disagree Better, are available at https://tammylenski.com/archives/… MORE >

Featured Mediators

ad
View all

Read these next

Category

Evaluative Mediation—Curriculum modules

Obviously, all of these topics cannot be “addressed”, let alone “learned” in a short course. However, they can all be foreshadowed. A selected number can be included in a course...

By John Wade
Category

Legal Design and Dispute Tech: Before the Conflict

Technology continues to create new conflict, and with that, find new ways to resolve that conflict. There are many more ways conflict can be resolved online than through Zoom. It’s...

By Simon Boehme
Category

Conflicts in the ‘Family’ Work Environment

When work treats you “like family” Starting in the 1990's businesses began to use the concept of a work place being "like a family" to encourage potential employees to apply....

By Kathleen Kauth

Find a Mediator

X
X
X