At least once a day, one of our children will end up in tears. When we ask what has happened either my 3 year old or 5 year old will start saying ‘s/he said or did this…” and before finishing the other will jump in “No I did not, s/he did this…”. Even if you are not around children much, I think it is easy to imagine this situation.
Even though it can be tiring behaviour, we expect children to behave this way. It is part of developing – they are learning boundaries, debating, persuasion, standing up for oneself, and so on.
And yet, unfortunately these types of debates don’t stop as we get older; we just need to read the news to realise this. But it’s not just in the news either, it happens in our organisations, our teams. It’s about picking sides, choosing one over the other. When we step back, sometimes it’s about control and power, while sometimes it’s about our perspective on the world and our worldview.
When it is about power and control, our egos are often front and centre. Somehow we have arrived at a point where we believe if we don’t ‘hold our ground’ we lose and will be weakened, so we dig in even further. When it is about our perspectives on the world, it is likely a question of polarity management, which Barry Johnson wrote about and Tim has written a lot about how this perceived tension can actually be healthy for teams.
And sometimes, it’s down to poor communication.