Shout, Pout, or Get Out

Jim Gustafson

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Dealing with difficult people is, well, difficult. (Dah) Different people deal with difficult people differently (another “Dah". ) How we react in conflict situations depends on how we learned to react when we were children. Unless we make a conscious effort to change, the way we observed conflict as a child will be the manner we address conflict as adults.

Generally, as children we learned to react one of three ways - shout, pout, or get out.

Shout –We literally or figuratively “shout" in an effort to correct, capture, and control the situation. We feel or fear attack. We fight back.

Pout – We clam-up, back off, and hold-in our feelings. We try to protect our self with silence and lack of responsive.

Get Out – We emotionally and/or physically remove our self from the situation.

Learning new ways to approach conflict takes conscious effort. It is usually worth it. It eliminates stress, creates better outcomes and strengthens relationships. When confronting a conflict situation, rather than react, we can choose how we will respond. We can -

  • Collaboration - “Hey, let’s see how we can’t find a different way work this out. "

  • Compromise – “I can adjust my position, can you adjust yours?"

  • Competition – “Let’s flip a coin"

  • Accommodation – “Ok, we’ll do it your way. "

  • Avoidance – “This conflict isn’t worth having"

    The important thing is not what we choose, but that we choose. Being thoughtful, conscious, and in charge of our response is what turns you all around. It is what conflict management (and the hokey poky) is all about.


    Bring it on!

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