One of our favourite models for working with workplace conflict comes from the Global Center for Right Relationship (CRR). CRR built from John Gottman’s definition of unhealthy conflict behaviours. All five are normal human behaviours – we’ve yet to find a relationship, team or family that is free of them. And, awareness of them massively enhances the quality of team work. As we become more aware of our toxic behaviours, we can catch ourselves and each other in the moment and course-correct before we create harm.
- Blame: Attacking the person rather than the behaviour; being critical, domineering or harsh.
- Defensiveness: Refusing to take responsibility for one’s own behaviour, or not being open to influence.
- Contempt: The opposite of respect, contempt is defined as “the feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration”. It can include sarcasm, belittling, cynicism, name-calling, hostile humour, hostile gossip, and belligerence. The most damaging of the toxins; this is the one that Gottman looks for when assessing a relationship’s odds of longevity.
- Stonewalling:Avoidance, uncooperativeness or fake compliance, passivity, disengagement, withholding. Not being open to influence.
- Flooding: Emotional overwhelm which (temporarily) deskills.
Here are some ideas for countering the toxins:
We have lots of ideas and exercises for working on this model with work relationships and teams, and for creating ‘conflict protocols’ as part of team agreements.
Contact us for a conversation to help you apply this to your situation.
 Oxford English Dictionary 2017.