Conflicts of Interest

Everything you ever wanted to know about conflicts at home, at work, or in the neighborhood.

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How did this become about me?!?

December 5th, 2012 at Wed, 5th, 2012 at 11:22 am by Vivian Scott

I haven’t seen it done in a while but in the past if a business wanted to draw attention to itself for a big event, it would bring in a huge spotlight that would illuminate the night sky and grab the interest of everyone from miles around.  I think that particular visual is a great analogy for what sometimes happens in a conflict.  The issue starts out being about one person and ends up with the focus—or the spotlight—on the other.  And, surprising, how the spotlight moves its focus from one to the other isn’t always due to the first person trying to blame shift.

We’ve all dealt with people who have plenty of excuses about others.  Add in some victim-like speak and you have blame shifting at its best.  But that’s not what I’m talking about here.  What I am talking about is how the other person responds and how that response can morph them from being the innocent bystander to the one with the gigantic spotlight focused squarely on them.  Oops!

When one over-reacts, refuses to talk, goes around/over/behind the chain of command, or flails around like a five-year-old, they run the risk of making themselves the problem and shifting the focus of attention.  In the blink of an eye you can go from minding your own business to having the powers that be all up in your business.  So, how do you avoid such a thing?  Do the opposite of overreacting, refusing to talk, or flailing around.  Show concern for any issues (no matter who brings them) and talk the situation through in a way that keeps the spotlight aimed in the other direction.  Then, move on in the shadows until the light shines on you for the right reasons (like for your amazing ability to handle conflict!).

Vivian Scott is a Professional Certified Mediator with a private practice serving King and Snohomish Counties. She is the author of, "Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies" and a contributing author of "Thriving in the Workplace For Dummies" as well as "Managing All-in-One For Dummies" (Wiley Publishing). Ms. Scott is a Certified Mediator Member of the Washington Mediation Association and received their Outstanding Contributor Award in 2012. Her mediation cases range from assisting couples through divorce and parenting plans to creating new workplace environments for organizations of all sizes. You can learn more about Vivian by visiting her website at www.vivianscottmediation.com. or www.anytimeseminars.com

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