Team Conflict – 5 Steps to Forgiveness

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.” Henry David Thoreau
Unresolved team conflict can absorb huge amounts of time and energy. It preoccupies the minds of members during their working day, interfering with their productivity and keep them awake at night, affecting their well-being. It’s in these dark quiet moments that battle lines get drawn.

The degenerative spiral starts as those involved in the conflict recall what was said and what they think was intended and gradually their perspectives become entrenched, slightly distorted and the outcome rests on a point of principle. Being right becomes the focus and the stakes are raised.

Being right sometimes is a valid and just pursuit and there are times when letting go should be the preferred course of action after all aren’t there better things to do with your time?

Ken Cloke and The Art of Forgiveness

Ken Cloke described the act of forgiveness as a radical form of letting go, where you release yourself from the burden of your own false expectations. The mother of all expectations being that the other person will figure out how to meet your own expectations without you having to tell them!

Separate the Person From the Problem

At the heart of forgiveness is the idea that we separate the person from the problem so that we can be soft on the person but hard on the problem. One’s ability to forgive the person is crucial to ensure our own compassion and empathy doesn’t interfere with our capacity to be hard on the problem.

Easier than it sounds?

Ken Cloke’s 5-step Model

Here’s a 5-step strategy (adapted from Ken Cloke’s model) to help accelerate the process of letting go so that you can spend more time and energy thinking about the things that contribute to your well being and personal effectiveness;

  1. Recall what happened; what was said, what you thought and how you felt. (write it down)
  2. Step into the shoes of the other person involved (as difficult as that may be) and imagine how they felt and what they thought.
  3. If you were to assume that they had a positive intention, what might it have been? (assume they meant no malice)
  4. Identify all the reasons for not forgiving them and all the expectations you had of them that they didn’t fulfil.
  5. For each reason you identify either address it or let go or quantify the cost to you of not letting go.

As usual the Buddha had an insight into this when he said; ‘why carry the raft on your back once you have crossed the river.’

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  • Guy Harris

    Aled – Excellent post. Thanks for introducing yourself over at my blog and letting me know about this post.


    • admin

      Thank you Guy.

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