I usually let book titles stand on their own, but I had to include the subtitle “Resolving the Heart of Conflict” along with The Anatomy of Peace or you might have just scrolled right past this article. I mean you’re an executive/software developer, not an army general, so what does “peace” have to do with you, right? But resolving conflict involving employees, customers, and vendors – well, that’s something you encounter most every day.
The Anatomy of Peace doesn’t outline communication tactics for resolving conflicts as you might expect. Instead, the book digs below the surface and addresses our attitudes and misconceptions which cause disharmony in the first place, hence the “Heart of Conflict” subtitle. If you’re still thinking this book isn’t for you because your company culture is hunky dory because nobody yells or throws staplers, this passage from the book might change your mind: “Most wars between individuals are of the ‘cold’ rather than the ‘hot’ variety – lingering resentment, for example, grudges long-held, resources clutched to rather than shared, help not offered. These are the acts of war that most threaten our homes and workplaces.”
Here are 26 excerpts from The Anatomy of Peace that I hope bring harmony to you and everyone you engage with:
- Parties in conflict all wait on the same solution: they wait for the other party to change. Should we be surprised, then, when conflicts linger and problems remain?
- When they spoke, it was a kind of a verbal wrestling match, each of them trying to anticipate the other’s moves, searching for weaknesses they could exploit to force the other into submission. With no actual mat into which to press the other’s flesh, these verbal matches always ended in a draw: each of them claimed hollow victory while living with ongoing defeat.
- In the way we regard our children, our spouses, neighbors, colleagues, and strangers, we choose to see others either as people like ourselves or as objects.
- Lumping everyone of a particular race or culture or faith into a single stereotype is a way of failing to see them as people.
- Heart at Peace – Others are People: Hopes, needs, cares, and fears as real to me as my own.
- Heart at War – Others are Objects: Obstacles, vehicles, irrelevancies.
- Seeing an equal person as an inferior object is an act of violence. It hurts as much as a punch to the face.
- No conflict can be solved so long as all parties are convinced they are right. Solution is possible only when at least one party begins to consider how he might be wrong.
- If we are going to find lasting solutions to difficult conflicts we first need to find our way out of the internal wars that are poisoning our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes toward others. If we can't put an end to the violence within us, there is no hope for putting an end to the violence without.
- As painful as it is to receive contempt from another, it is more debilitating by far to be filled with contempt for another.
- When I see others as objects, I dwell on the injustices I have suffered in order to justify myself, keeping my mistreatments and suffering alive within me.
- If I think I am superior, I can excuse a lot of sins.
- I may not be responsible for the things he's done. But I am responsible for what I've done.
- Whenever I dehumanize another, I necessarily dehumanize all that is human – including myself.
- The question for you as the leader is whether you are going to create an environment that is as enjoyable for your people as it is for you – a place that they are as excited about and devoted to as you are.
- If you are the mess, you can clean it. Improvement doesn't depend on others.
- Five questions that will help you to ponder your situation anew:
- What are this person's or people’s challenges, trials, burdens, and pains?
- How am I, or some group of which I am a part, adding to these challenges, trials, burdens, and pains?
- In what other ways have I or my group neglected or mistreated this person or group?
- In what ways are my better-than, I-deserved, worse-than, and need-to-be-seen-as boxes obscuring the truth about others and myself and interfering with potential solutions?
- What am I feeling I should do for this person or group? What can I do to help?
- When we have recovered those sensibilities towards others, we must then act on them. We need to honor the senses we have rather than betray them.
- What would be a problem is to insist that others need to change while being unwilling to consider how we ourselves might need to change too.
- Correction alone rarely gets others to change.
- Correction is by nature provocational.
- When our correction isn't working, we normally bear down harder and correct more.
- Teach and communicate: It is no good trying to teach if I myself am not listening and learning.
- Learning keeps reminding us that we might be mistaken in our views and opinions.
- Peace is invited only when an intelligent outward strategy is married to a peaceful inward one. If we don't get our hearts right, our strategies won't much matter.
- May you have the honesty and courage to do what our homes, our workplaces, and our communities most need: to see all as people — even, and perhaps especially, when others are giving you a reason not to.
Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Worldpay’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of Hire Like You Just Beat Cancerand On The Edge with Jim Roddy.