It’s only the first week of the year, and already we’re on a roll. Here’s a reminder from The Animal Protective Association of Missouri‘s Kim Brown that in order to solve a conflict, it’s crucial to get at the root of the tissue, er, issue.
Kim Brown, Director of Operations at the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, will never forget one example shared during a team training a couple of years ago. The topic was conflict management, and the leader of the training, Erin Cox. “You know how upset we sometimes can get when the toilet paper roll is empty and someone didn’t replace it?” asks Kim. “We’re not actually mad about the toilet paper, but upset about a deeper, underlying issue. We may feel that someone didn’t care enough to do what we would have done for them. There may be other issues built up that cause us to feel frustrated, upset, or stressed.”
The thing is, complaining about toilet paper isn’t hard. “We often raise concerns about little things, things that seem petty and nagging to others,” explains motivational speaker Erin Cox. “Those little things are just the tangibles, the representations. Coworkers don’t get that pissed off because you borrowed their stapler. But, yelling about a stapler, or toilet paper, is easy. It’s quick. It proves a point. It gets us that instant gratification we are so desperate for.”
The real work starts when we make the commitment to dig deeper. “If we want to truly excel in conflict management, find peace and fix the problem,” says Cox, “we have to pull back the layers and find the root cause.”
From Erin “Cubbie” Cox’s blog: Take a Page Out of My Book—It’s Not About the Toilet Paper
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