The Fair Fighters Rather Than Dirty Fighters Approach

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Everybody encounters differences of opinion and conflicts in their lives. During these situations it can be useful to recognise when people are fighting fair or fighting dirty. Let’s explore these different ways of trying to solve difficulties.

Fair Fighters

Fair fighters take responsibility. Whilst they may sometimes feel upset, they take ownership for their feelings and focus on how to shape a better future.

Such people build on common ground. During a conflict they look for the similarities. They focus on the shared goals that people want to achieve rather than the differences. They explore how it is possible to get some early wins that will build trust.

Fair fighters say things like: “Let’s look to the future and see how we can find a solution.

They refuse to play the blame game. Even when angry, they are careful with their communication.

They ask themselves: “What are the real results I want to achieve? Do I simply want to express my feelings or do I want to find a solution?”

Such people stand up for their rights, however, and are certainly are not victims. They also give clear messages, rather than conflicting or confused messages. Fair fighters always give positive suggestions and try, as far as possible, to get win-wins.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a person you have known who was a fair fighter.

Describe the specific things they did – the principles they followed – to be a fair fighter.

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Dirty Fighters

Dirty fighters blame others for their situation. They refuse to take responsibility and seem to say: “I am right and you are wrong.”

Such people play the blame game and often refer to the past. They say: “Look at what you did then and how it made me feel.”

Believing their own feelings are paramount, they express these without consideration for other people.

Dirty fighters give conflicting or confusing messages. They may also put others in double-binds. These are situations where, whatever the other person does, they cannot win.

Such people focus on differences – rather than common ground – and insist that other people should change. They try to make others feel small. Their model for solving conflicts is to aim for a win-lose.

Fair Fighting In The Future

Let’s return to your own life and work. Can you think of a situation where you may want to – maybe even need to – be a fair fighter?

How can you be calm, clear and use your creativity to get positive results? How can you show respect for other people? Take a moment to think. Looking at the situation, ask yourself:

What are the real results I want to achieve?

How can I do my best to achieve these results?

How can I do my best to, as far as possible, get a win-win?

There are many skills for living a positive life. One of these is standing for your own views, but also being fair when it comes to resolving difficulties. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme.

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