Five Common Scenarios In Which We Resort to the Wrong Approach

Adam Kahane's newest book argues for the judicious use of both power and love in combination (each combination being unique to the situation at hand) to effect change and resolve conflict in communities and groups. There are many situations where we make the mistake of resorting to pure force (power) to achieve the desired goal, or want to avoid conflict altogether (love) in the hopes that peace will inevitably prevail with kindness. These situations are found not only in war-torn regions of the developing world, but in our everyday lives with our families, friends, and colleagues.

Here Adam presents the five common scenarios where we resort to only power or only love when we should use both:

a. Common Power-Only Scenario #1: We are so afraid of being hurt that we deny or cut off our love and connection to others, attacking them (and/or defending ourselves) aggressively.

Example: Have you ever walked away from a friendship or relationship that felt difficult, because this seemed easier than confronting the person and taking the risk of having to face some unpleasant revelations about yourself?”

b. Common Power-Only Scenario #2:
We are so sure of the correctness of our beliefs and actions that we deny or forget that we might be wrong -- and that we might be hurting others.

Example: Have you ever vigorously pushed an idea or initiative that you were certain was right, over the objections of others, only to find that ultimately it wasn't right?

c. Common Love-Only Scenario #1: We are so afraid of hurting others that we deny or cut off our own ambition and power.

Example: Have you ever buried ideas or initiatives that were important to you, because you were worried that they might offend or upset someone you really cared about?

d. Common Love-Only Scenario #2: We are so uneasy with or lacking in confidence in our own power that we pretend we have none -- and so flail about timidly and unconsciously.

Example: Have you ever found yourself manipulating other people towards your own motives because you aren't willing to step up to say what you want and what you are willing to do to get it?

e. Common Love-Only Scenario #3: We are so determined to keep our situation polite or high-minded or whole that we suppress self-expression, dissent, and conflict--and thereby making our situation unhealthy and un-whole.

Have you ever swept problems in a group under the carpet or ignored them in order to keep the group intact, only to find these problems coming back bigger and more destructive?

What are your personal experiences with power and love? Share with the community below...

Five Cases of Professional Self-Deception

We’d like to think that our grip on reality is pretty solid and we know what’s going on better than most people. We're wrong. Professionals and learned people deceive themselves about their abilities and capabilities as much as anyone else. Here are just five examples from research in the field:

1. "I'm the most competent person here." Ninety-four percent of American university professors think they are better at their jobs than their colleagues. -- Dr. Ashley Wazana in JAMA Vol. 283 No. 3, January 19, 2000.

2. "I don't have biases or prejudices like others do." A Princeton University research team asked people to estimate how susceptible they and "the average person" were to a long list of judgmental biases. The overwhelming majority of people claimed to be less biased than the overwhelming majority of people. --Daniel Gilbert, I'm OK; You're Biased

3."I am a better leader than most." Seventy percent of college students think they are above average in leadership ability. Only two percent think they are below average. --Thomas Gilovich, How We Know What Isn't So

4."Special allowances should be made for my particular industry." Eighty-five percent of medical students think it is improper for politicians to accept gifts from lobbyists. Only 46 percent think it's improper for physicians to accept gifts from drug companies. -- Dr. Ashley Wazana in JAMA Vol. 283 No. 3, January 19, 2000.

5. "I am not as easily bought off as others." A 2001 study of medical residents found that 84 percent thought that their colleagues were influenced by gifts from pharmaceutical companies, but only 16 percent thought that they were similarly influenced. --Daniel Gilbert, I'm OK; You're Biased

Has this list compelled you to think about any of your own self-deceptions? Anything you’d care to share below?