Hot Buttons: How To Resolve Conflict And Cool Everyone Down
The benefit: By avoiding “hot buttons” we give ourselves and each other a chance to respond logically rather than viscerally, and approach conflict in a thoughtful way.
The steps are identified as: watch the play; confirm; get more information; assert your own interests and needs; and find common ground for a solution. Numerous examples are provided to help the reader understand the why and how of the approach
The goal of this approach? A win/win outcome. A lasting resolution to ongoing conflict is achieved when we understand each others’ wants and needs and work together to find the common ground upon which to build a solution. This collaborative approach results in agreements that go miles beyond the uneasy truce reached through a compromise that leaves each person dissatisfied with his or her “half a loaf.” Divorcing couples using the Collaborative Law Process will recognize the idea that lasting peace comes through gaining an understanding of needs and crafting solutions both participants believe in.
Evans and Suib include a story that has been repeated many times in mediation/conflict resolution literature to make the win/win point.
“The Orange Story”
Two kids both want the last orange. They fight over it. They reject a compromise – cutting it in half – that won’t satisfy either, really. Mom walks in. She knows about collaboration and win/win. She knows she has to find out their needs, try to be fair, and come up with options so that each child feels she has won. “Why do you want the orange?” she asks one child. “I’m thirsty – I want juice,” is the answer. “And why do you want the orange?” she asks the other. “I want the rind to make orange icing for my cake” is the answer. Mom gives all the rind to one child and the whole orange to the other. Both win.
The lesson? The first step to agreement is understanding each point of view.
“Hot Buttons” is a good introduction to the how and why of conflict management. Couples going through separation and divorce may find the chapters devoted to managing conflict within intimate relationships particularly helpful. Gaining an understanding of your own and your former partner’s “hot buttons” can’t help but improve communication and improving communication is the first step toward resolving disagreements.