I Learned to Handle Conflict, You Can Too.

Summary: Did you ever wonder where your conflict resolution skills developed? It starts with what got your attention (or not) as a kid. Here is good advice for you as an adult.

Hi everybody!

I was on an interview this morning, and they asked me to discuss behavior patterns and conflict.

Above all, the big question was a personal one. How did I learn practical conflict resolution skills? I want to share this, so hopefully, you can relate.

Your conflict resolution skills are critical for long term success.

As many of you know, I’m a leadership development expert and executive coach. I understand that the proper conflict resolution skills will save you time and, often, money as you lead your team.

Please remember, your conflict resolution skills will either lead you to positive outcomes or take you right into the “pattern trap” of negative results.

How you handle divisiveness, back-biting, gossip, and anger are critical for success.

I have recently named my whole platform for business and personal achievement “PATTERNS FOR SUCCESS.”

That is to say, all the outdated, ingrained behavior patterns that are part of you can transform into healthy, positive ways of relating.

Therefore, let me share what I have learned about my conflict resolution skills without even being aware. It’s fun and exciting. Embarrassing too, but what the heck?

Initial conflcit reolution skills are learned before you are five years old.

Firstly, let me give you some background. I am a younger sister. My older brother had the role of ‘king of the hill.’ My parents revered him. What about me? I was just the cute little girl.

Further, if I ever wanted attention, I learned very early that I had to make lots of noise. Thus, I would have loud, annoying, hissy fits.

As a result, I was good enough to win a “Most obnoxious” academy award in the hissy fit category.

Moreover, that demanding, ‘pay attention to me’ behavior went deeply into my nervous system.

My conflict resolution skills were of the following: You want attention? Make a lot of noise. Do you want attention? Yell, cry, scream, stamp your feet, do whatever.

Conflict resolution skills change when your old ways no longer work.

Now, grown-up and a respected therapist and educator, I still have a lot to learn. Thank goodness I have improved.

Most importantly, what I learned I want to pass on to you.

For example, I would be in the meeting early on, and somebody would say something contentious. I got upset, and you guessed it, I’d have a hissy fit.

Here is how I would react: I would slap my hand on the table in annoyance. Or perhaps, I would shake my head till it looked like it was falling off with disapproval. Another tactic of mine was ‘the eye roll’ to shame someone silently.

Handling conflict by ‘shaming ‘ others gets old quickly.

Subsequently, I would hear someone whisper, “Oh my God! There she goes again.” My internal response was, “They are just afraid of honesty!”

After that, I would ignore the complainer.

However, I needed to learn a lesson about my poor conflict resolution skills.

These situations helped me become a great observer of my behavior patterns. I had a meeting in the morning, and during that time, I had my predictable drama queen hissy fit. Later in the afternoon, I facilitated an off-site with a different group of people, a different company.

The only constant was me. Yup, I had another hissy fit. I then got a “wake-up call” when a colleague took my arm as we walked from the meeting. She said in a calm, friendly manner, “Oh my! Do you have to be that dramatic with what you do?”

The first step to Patterns for Success is by observing your behavior.

And I remember thinking, oh, what does she know? What does he know? What do they know? I get good results because I make a lot of noise, which happened when I was a kid.

Consequently, I went home, still convinced I was leading correctly. Sadly, I still needed a whack on the side of my head.

It is said, the third time you see the same situation, hear similar comments, feel the upset in your gut, this third time, they say, is the charm. So, pay attention to what I call “the threes.”

Pay attention to feedback to develop better conflict resolution skills.

To sum up, both of my daughters were in college at the time. And that fateful evening, one of my daughters called. She was telling me something that was annoying me. I responded to her, “Oh Julie, I don’t believe this. I continued my rant with so much blah, blah, blah,” and my daughter said, “Mom when you get into that drama queen place,, there’s no talking to you. So, I love you, and I’m going to hang up.”

And she, yes she did, she hung up right then. I sat there looking at the phone. Initially, I judged Julie, just like I had with the others earlier in the day. I sat there thinking nasty thoughts. Then I said to myself, “That was a sign of “the threes.”

As a result, I decided I better pay attention. I used the OUT Technique I had developed for pattern transformation. I sat quietly, looking at past behavior, and made a list to observe when I pissed people off.

Then I took time to understand where it started. Eventually, I had an “aha” moment.

It was then; I realized how defensive I was with conflict.

Looking back, I saw how my brother took up all the air in the room.

My parents were always telling him he was so marvelous and brilliant and all that stuff. I could feel the frustration of not being heard. I realized the only way I could get attention was by making lots of noise.

The OUT Technique helps to upgrade ineffective behavior patterns.

Okay, so now what?

I began the work to transform the drama queen in me.

Subsequently, and that’s what’s exciting, I finally figured out that the drama queen or king can become a great storyteller.

Each pattern that is not purposeful can be transformed. Please take time to do the leadership success quiz and find the top patterns that get in your way of ultimate success.

You see, there’s lots of adrenaline when you shout out upset. It’s like an addiction. I liked it. After all, it did get me the attention I craved.

The drama queen/king can be transformed into a great storyteller.

Now, here’s the difference.

The storyteller has a purpose.

What you say could and should have a positive outcome. It’s not just spewing words to get attention and make a lot of noise for no reason.

The OUT Technique helps you find the right way to transform behavior patterns that no longer work for you. Our coaches are all experts in this highly valued method to Observe, Understand and Transform outdated behavior patterns.

Moreover, transforming outdated behavior is vital during times of stress. You can, as I did, learn how to change behavior to have positive conflict resolution skills.

Learning to use the OUT Technique has changed my life for the better. It also makes a difference for all who go through the Total leadership Connections Program.

You can become more self-aware and, thus, a better leader, at work, at home, everywhere.

Here’s to your success,


PS My book, “Don’t Bring It To Work,” discusses what has remained invisible till now. That is how the 13 most destructive ingrained behavior patterns show up at work. More importantly, you learn how to transform them into positive ones, becoming Patterns for Success.

PSS. If you prefer, you can watch the video here.

Creative Energy Options

Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options