Conflict: Type A versus Type C: From theory to reality

Conflict when dealing with employees,  teams, or families is something that is inevitable. Conflict is what allows innovation to occur. Ideas and the status quo have to be challenged in order to continue to meet the demanding needs of the world today. Type A conflict, however, is what usually gets people in trouble. It’s the type of conflict when it becomes personal when instead of challenging an idea the individual holding that idea is insulted. Many a brainstorming session has been ruined by people attacking the individual who shares an off the wall idea, many of which actually become something huge. Type C conflict, on the other hand, is the type of conflict that we want to foster in our workplaces and even in our families. This is where we challenge the idea, working along with the owner of the thought through dialogue.

So my story begins. I created a little bit of Facebook drama the other day, unintentionally, of course, by stating my opinion on a particular issue of parenting. I am NOT going to rehash the entire argument, there’s no need to go there again, but I do want to discuss the lesson that I learned. My strong opinion may have gotten a little personal. That’s when everything went awry. I really insulted somebody, actually a lot of somebodies. My opinion is clearly different than the majority, and I’m okay with that. My intention was to create a dialogue about something I find important. However, my choice of words turned it into something else. The power of words, it’s very real. So much of what we call bullying these days is all designed through words.

I intended to challenge an idea, by using Type C conflict, but with a choice of words it turned ugly and it became Type A conflict. It just goes to show how important it is to pay attention to what we do and say. While I certainly stand by my thoughts,  next time I want to voice my opinion, I’ll think a bit more before I open my mouth, or in this case, my status box.

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The Difference Between 20 and 30.

Great post!

Suzie Speaks

GrowingOldIsToday I found a grey hair. Now, this sounds ridiculous, as I’ve had random grey eyebrows for years, but when I found it I genuinely felt quite sad. That single grey hair confirmed everything I’d been noticing recently… I’m getting older. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’m old in the slightest, but I’ve noticed that my opinions of life and how I live it has changed since I turned 30. For example:

1. Staying out until three in the morning is almost impossible, and if I do I’m guaranteed to not be able to move from the hangover the next day even if I’ve only had a small amount of alcohol. In my 20’s I could go out all night wearing six inch heels and an outfit the size of a tea-towel and feel reasonably fine the next day. I don’t want to go out to nightclubs anymore. Instead…

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Thinking – Do we even do this anymore?

This was the summary for my LinkedIn profile for quite some time, and it’s time to update. However, I don’t want to lose these thoughts forever to the delete button, so here it is:

Thinking sometimes seems to be a lost art. We live in a world in which the easiest, cheapest, fastest way is the consistent goal, and our ability to view other perspectives gets swallowed up into a frenzy of convenience and habit. How do we get people to stop and actually think on a deeper level about the choices they make, about the long-term ramifications of certain decisions?

My answer is one person at a time. I choose to start with myself. Now in my fifth semester teaching Principles of Management and Creative Leadership at the community college where I work, I find a necessity to challenge my students more, to get them to think “outside the box”, to give them opportunities to problem solve and develop their team skills. Many nights, I stare at the wall, thinking, researching what others do, and then something just hits me. Helping my students to become thinkers is reciprocal, as I continue to develop my own skills along the way.

I want to keep going with this idea. I seek the opportunity to be a part of a wide-reaching solution in stale thought processes. From my own experiences so far, I’ve realized that to think outside the box, we must first break out of it. How to do that on a societal level in a way that brings about positive change for all is the root of my cause.

 

I welcome your thoughts on this topic as well! How can we bring back the lost art of thinking?

Is it silly to plan for the ultimate failure of technology?

I was recently in a room of like-minded academic professionals at a conference. It was so great to have such equivalent enthusiasm for teaching and learning surrounding me! We were discussing the next edition of an accounting textbook that we commonly use, and after a great morning of getting to know one another, I asked a question that I think about often.

I teach an online accounting (bookkeeping) course. 95% of their assignments are all on the internet. As a Gen Xer, my view may be somewhat old-fashioned, but I can’t help but wonder if we are relying up on technology too much.

My question really was “Is there a technology out there to have my students submit manual work or can we think about developing something? I’m thinking of a worst-case scenario – what if a huge solar storm destroys all our satellites and power grids and we find ourselves without electricity for a while. What happens if all we know is computerized accounting? Does the world just shut down?”

Now, I was serious. My philosophy of learning here is similar to the task of learning how to do long division by hand before being able to use a calculator in math class. If we rely too much upon computerized accounting systems, will we become incapable of reproducing a manual system in the case of need?

The response I received:

“Yes, the world will shut down”, accompanied by a roomful of condescending laughter.

I was humiliated but held my head high. Simply, I was astonished that I was the only one who felt this to be important and my “what if” scenario was ridiculous.

By all means, I support, know, and teach computerized methods, but I feel that we need to understand what is really happening when you tell the system what to do.

Where do you stand on this idea? Do we need to still teach basic manual theories even though technology offers us amazing electronic solutions? Am I being silly by wanting to plan for a potential failure of technology?

I’d love to hear from everyone out there. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and I look forward to hearing your opinion!

~ Laura Bantz

How To Get Your Students To Think Outside the Box – Discussion, Feedback, and Responses

The idea of thinking outside the box, the ability to see more than what the eye or experience allows, is a critical skill that requires attention in the development of our academic programs.

I presented this idea with a focus on classroom applications at the 2013 Connections Conference at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL, on March 13, 2013. This blog has been created as a means to continue to discussion.

Presentation Abstract: (click to see full profile on sched.org)

How often does the term “think outside the box” result in blank stares and silence in your classroom? Participants will acquire a variety of strategies to expand students creative and critical thinking abilities, allowing them to more easily and frequently “think outside the box.”

The presentation is available for viewing if you were unable to attend the conference: CONNECTIONS 2013 How To Get Your Students To Think Outside The Box

Please feel free to share your ideas of how to create opportunities for our students to utilize out-of-the-box thinking in the everyday classroom. I’d love to hear your feedback on the presentation as well!

I look forward to our discussions!

~ Laura Bantz

Zucchini Heaven!

I’m quite the amateur home gardener with about four years of attempted organic summer foods. Each fruit and vegetable has its own care label, yet the vast majority of my experience forgets this concept after planting the seeds.  Each year, the general gardening concepts become more and more clear to me, such as not watering everyday once established to encourage root growth or ensuring to thin the plants once they sprout, especially the spreaders such as my lovely cucumber and zucchini plants. About them…they are doing just lovely, even in this horrible drought we are experiencing in the Chicagoland area. It was unclear to me prior to this season that they could thrive in such conditions. What a thrill when I found that first monster of a zucchini!  I had to google how to harvest it – I had no clue what to do! I feel that I have grown as a gardener and have a leadership lesson to share: Some things and people have wonderful hidden talents and abilities that seem to emerge when least expected or in the toughest times. Sometimes,  it may be simply a lack of knowledge by others or perhaps a misuse of talent. We are all a work in progress. I learned from my zucchini and it served its true purpose in my delicious loaf of zucchini bread. True learning at its best is reciprocal.

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