In today’s corporate America, there are many schools of thought regarding how to instill effective conflict resolution skills in the workplace. Adults should be able to establish a common objective and realize the end goal before ever stepping foot into the meeting room.
Adults should also know how to take control of situations when their children decide to push parental boundaries. Parents should act like role models and not succumb to the “do as I say but not as I do” mentality. How can we expect our children to put others’ needs in front of their own if all they hear from authority is “because I said so…that’s why”?
A strong parallel exists between the two worlds – work life versus home life – and how we inevitably learn to adapt to our surroundings. After researching this field of study for more than 10 years, I have come to a realization:
There is nothing that a good game of dodgeball can’t solve.
Seriously, think about it. It does not matter if you stay at home, work from home, work part-time or full-time, situations inevitably arise where different people with different needs come into conflict. And neither seems willing to bend.
You know what surefire method can cause someone to bend who otherwise is unwilling? A red bouncy mediator to the groin.
Conflict: I pass Phil everyday in the walkway at work. Despite my best attempt to be pleasant, smile and say “hello,” Phil repeatedly ignores me. I do not expect Phil to drop what he is doing and high five me every time we pass (although that would be cool), but I do expect eye contact or a simple head nod acknowledging my presence when I greet him. I theorize that Phil thinks he is more important than he actually is.
Resolution: The next time Phil brushes past me as I enter the elevator, I whip a dodge ball at the back of his head. Ka-doosh! I am willing to bet he makes eye contact with me from that moment on.
Conflict: My six-year old suddenly feels the need to place unnecessary attitude behind his responses when I ask him to accomplish simple tasks. “Austin, for the third time, you need to put your shoes on. Pause your Nintendo D.S. Austin, we are leaving. I am starting the car. Game down! Shoes on!” To which I hear the dreaded three syllable response, “Oh Kay…YA!” I theorize that Austin not only doesn’t understand volume control when speaking to his mother but also needs a reminder on proper use of the English language.
Resolution: The next time Austin tosses down his video gaming system in disgust (the reward his dad and I bought for him before he started talking smack) and opens his mouth to protest my unjust request to wear shoes in minus 20 degree weather, I hurl a ball at his knees and take him out. Thump! I am willing to bet that third syllable won’t have the chance to escape his mouth. Better yet, he is now in better position to put those shoes on.
Conflict: I hate getting the oil changed in my mom van. Next to getting gas and washing the beast, this is my least favorite required maintenance activity. My husband seems to think that driving around 1,000 miles overdue is not a best practice. I, on the other hand, think that if I don’t look at the reminder sticker in the upper left-hand corner of my windshield, the problem will automatically cease to exist. I theorize my husband may push me over the edge one of these nights by casually asking me the question he already knows the answer to.
Resolution: The next time I am posed the question, “Have you gotten your oil changed yet?” by the love of my life, I may have to zing the red bouncy mediator at his Adam’s apple when he’s not looking. As he’s clutching his throat and looking up at me trying to regain his breath, I will politely ask if he would be willing to handle that chore for me as I bat my eyelashes at him.
Dodgeball is underrated. I firmly believe, if used properly, the game can solve most of the world’s problems.
Heidi Woodard is married with three children and works full-time.