Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Conciliatory

The adjective conciliatory has been used to describe me in recent months. The first time I felt that it was an insult as much as it was a description. The second time, well? It was given as praise, but in my mind I remembered the word appease as a definition of conciliate. Appease is not a good word in conflict resolution. It is weak. I am not weak. Am I?

To determine whether I am one who conciliates I browsed a few dictionaries on our library shelves. Here is the definition that I was remembering when my neighbor used the description.

  1. To overcome the distrust or animosity of; appease.
  2. To regain or try to regain (friendship or goodwill) by pleasant behavior.
  3. To make or attempt to make compatible; reconcile.
There it is, that word appease. Oh, heavens! Is that me? Possibly.

Probably.

I do make it a point to listen to the person who is angry. I get angry when a problem arises that could have been avoided. After the anger, I move to "fix-it" mode. What good is continuing to talk about the problem when time would be better spent acquiring a solution? In that effort, I normally suggest a possible resolution. My suggestion might not be the best, but I have noticed that when one person brings forth an idea others will follow with suggestions of their own.

Do I also delineate what the other party has done well? Yes. Is that conciliation or appeasement? Maybe. I prefer my adversaries to not be so defensive that it clouds rational thinking. That is my goal in being conciliatory.

Still, it stings to be called that. I feel less tough. Or do I?

1 comment:

jmb said...

I'm a fix-it person too. I will only listen so long while people go back and forth, unable to come to a consensus about what to do. Then I offer to do whatever, and usually they are happy to either leave it to me or all fall behind another idea and suddenly it is resolved.
I don't imagine conciliatory would be used of me, but I did suggest the face saving resolution between two lawyers in a meeting today which both accepted readily so that will have to do.
regards
jmb
jmb