How to Banish the GOTCHA GAME at Work

Summary: Love it or hate it; it won’t go away. Not those extra 10 pounds! I’m talking about conflict. Those annoying times when you are at odds with someone when you are pissed off with a client, supplier, staff, or even your best friend.

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

Is it me? Or is the world becoming more argumentative?

Each day, there seems to be an ugly incident, often physically violent and verbally nasty.

Conflict rather than caring is causing so much anxiety.

Maybe, at least in a small way, I can positively change my work team to be more caring.

Thoughts, please?


Cockeyed optimist

Stay optimistic as you earn new skills for conflict resolution.

Dear Cockeyed optimist,

There have always been ugly incidents. Today, we hear about them faster, thanks to the internet and social media.

For example, this is everywhere; it’s like being in a steamy, emotional boxing ring; punch and jab, punch, and jab, GOTCHA! And then the bell sounds, only to prepare you for the next time. Hint: there is always a next time.

Why is conflict so hard to manage? Why do so many programs on conflict resolution lead down dead-end roads?

We’ve been looking in all the wrong places for conflict resolution

Here is a powerful way to get you out of the messy Gotcha Game, out of the shaming and blaming.

In short, it is what every entrepreneur and business owner needs to get rid of wasteful frustration and misunderstanding. It is a long view rather than a quick fix.

All in all, I will now give you the missing link not found in most conflict resolution programs.

A Word of Caution: You become a magnet

When you understand how to stop conflict at a rapid rate, you become a magnet. People are drawn to you, to your charisma. They want to know how you moved past the hurts and disappointments and want to be just like you.

Indeed, all sorts of possibilities open up – new ideas, opportunities, and a sense of freedom that defies description. So, use the following information for the good of everyone as you become known as a conflict resolution expert.

The best leaders learn the skills to be conflict competent

Most importantly, while some of you already know there is a need to go beyond the superficial, others are making a gagging sound. And I hear your thoughts: as adults, you should be able to leave all that stuff behind, right?

In other words, you want to believe that the past is over and has no impact on what you do today.

However, please hear this: what you learned in your original organization, the family stays with you wherever you go.

You can move thousands of miles away, yet they are in your head. Your mother still demands that you stand up straighter, and your father tells you to stop impossible dreams and get a “real” job.

You hear your sister’s perfect figure taunt you every time you look in the mirror, or your brother, who got all A’s, is smirking, and you feel like a dummy. 

This goes for all of us, with no exceptions. Sure, we can behave like proper adults much of the time. However, when stress hits the hot button, we all revert to childhood patterns in the blink of an eye.

Get around dead ends and detours by being pattern aware

Once you learn how past family life causes present anxiety, stress, and conflict, you’ll be able to shorten the time of upset and the depth of anger.

  • Stop blaming and start owning: your behavior does not exist independently of others. If someone pushes your buttons, guess what; you are going theirs also. Take the plunge and be authentic; talk about the part you are playing in the festering conflict, how the situation is making YOU feel, not about what THEY are doing.
  • Make it safe for others to talk: ask lots of questions. The “how, what, when, where, why” variety can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Once you ask a question, you need to be quiet and let the other person answer without your “yabbit” (yes but) knee-jerk response.
  • Listen for word repetition: these are critical pointers to the underlying upset. If someone uses the word “isolated” and you are always together, think about isolation emotionally. Are they being excluded from making important decisions? One term used over and over can open the door to vital discussions.
  • Learn the 13 most common patterns you bring from home to work: Take the pattern-aware leadership quiz for free at www.ceoptions/programs. Just click on the QUIZ button. Not only will you be able to see if you are a super achiever, avoider, rescuer, or any of the others, you will see everyone around you with more clarity.

Once you have a better way to handle conflict, you will see your stress decrease — promise.

Leave The GOTCHA GAME behind. You can. Learn to find the way out of conflict and become a relationship expert. Sign up for my newsletter and request a copy of “No More Gotcha Games.”

 It’s about you, it’s about me, and it’s about time!!

Here’s to your success,

Sylvia Lafair

PS. Please celebrate with me. I have been named to the prestigious list from for the eleventh year as one of the Top 30 Global Leadership Gurus for 2023. Have a glass of champagne or kombucha to toast me. Let me know, and I will send you a fun surprise.

Creative Energy Options

Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options