Dealing with High-Conflict People

Recognize the Patterns of High-Conflict Personalities

  • High-conflict personalities demonstrate a pattern of behavior that increases conflict rather than reducing or resolving it.
  • These patterns include blaming others, all-or-nothing mindsets, unmanaged emotions, and extreme behaviors.
  • By learning to recognize these patterns in others and/or yourself, you can navigate these minefields more safely, or better yet, defuse them.
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Houston, Do You Copy?

An Astronaut's Guide to Deliberate Listening

  • Break down incoming communication with intention.
  • Verify the meaning of the communication by engaging in discussion.
  • At the end of the conversation, agree on an action plan that consists of clear deliverables.
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  • Humans subconsciously assess one another for trustworthiness.Make the process more conscious by getting to know your counterparts' interests: Do your separate interests converge?
  • On the flip side, help others understand your personal "user guide". Be intentional about expressing your own unique interests.
  • Listen for why to figure out what others care about to help you navigate relationships and form the bonds of trust.
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  • Often times, interactions that we think are "zero-sum" can actually be beneficial for both parties.
  • Ask, What outcome will be good for both parties? How can we achieve that goal?
  • Afraid the win-win situation might not continue? Build trust by creating a situation that increases the probability you and your counterpart will meet again.
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