Book Excerpts

An excerpt from Vistelar Consultant, Kathy Mangold, in her book, Confidence In Conflict For Everyday Life

“In the midst of a disagreement, no one will budge from his or her viewpoint until there’s movement toward common ground.

Until then, we’re all stuck.

Unfortunately, we typically turn to our values to create our common ground–but that’s oftentimes the source of our disagreement. Either we don’t know the other person’s values or we consider them unreasonable.

Values don’t solve our problems; it’s unrealistic to think you can convert someone to your belief system or your set of values. They have their own, and they’re entitled to them…Because attempts to convey respect can be misinterpreted, we need a more robust interpretation of how we should treat people, one that is not wishy-washy or dependent on understanding someone’s personal preferences. The interpretation that we’ve found successful is this:

All human beings, simply by virtue of being human, are deserving of a baseline of respect. We call that human dignity. When others violate that, whether through disregard, objectification, or by demeaning us, we are offended because a core part of who we are has been stripped away.

The Five Maxims provide tactic-driven strategies that let you, even in the midst of disagreement, move toward common ground. If you look at our Communicating Under Pressure chart, you’ll see that the Five Maxims act as a frame that wraps around all of the skills we teach.

Before you can manage a situation, you need to be willing to acknowledge the dignity of others and be capable of treating them with respect.

The Five Maxims outline the action steps that need to be taken in order to show people respect in the times when they need it most:

  1. Listen with all of your senses
  2. Ask, don’t tell, others to do something
  3. Explain why they are being asked
  4. Offer options, not threats
  5. Give them a second chance

The Maxims put our principles into action: acknowledging the dignity of another person and treating them with respect defines our outlook. The Maxims provide us with the how.

What you will need is a willingness to acknowledge the dignity of others, the capacity to treat them with respect and the skills to manage the situation.”