Last week I exploded in an ugly outburst of anger. The effect on one of the most significant friendships I’ve ever had was catastrophic.
The previous week, a colleague sent an angry and accusatory email to the leader of a group I am a part of. The impact on reputation , resources and relationships – as well as productivity - was unimaginable.
In both instances, attempts to work through the situation in the moment, as well as to work with the aftershock, were anguished and largely ineffective. I have lost a dear friend and trust has been lost between many of us in the group. It can become impossible in such situations to connect with compassion and to transform hurt and hate into authentic relating.
Learning to communicate in ways that do not do violence to others is central to any transformational process, at work and in life. Usually conflict arises because of moral judgments of right/wrong, good/bad or because of accusations of who is to blame. The result is that we disconnect from our compassionate selves and understanding is lost. This can be very expensive to all concerned.
Yet just how do we transform violence and support peace? A key technology for understanding how to avoid conflict as well as how to resolve it more satisfactorily is Nonviolent Communication. Developed by Marshall Rosenberg, NVC theory suggests that our behaviour stems from meeting universal needs. Such needs – for recognition, love, respect, or acceptance, for instance - are never in conflict. Rather, conflict arises when our strategies for getting our needs met clash. So if we can identify one another’s needs more skilfully, as well as the feelings that surround these needs, harmony can be achieved. According to Gina Lawrie – a Meus consultant and internationally-renowned NVC trainer –“Nonviolent Communication provides a framework for having courageous conversations that is empowering and practical – and helps us go beyond conflict.” Given that our attempts to work constructively and creatively with conflict can feel so disempowering, NVC has certainly got my interest at the moment… Meus is hosting a 2-day workshop teaching NVC skills in London on 29th – 30thOctober 2012. The workshop is being led by NVC specialist Gina Lawrie. For further information click here.