Eli Dinkova is a consultant in the field of organizational psychology. She works as an expert on projects related to strategic and business development, process design and management capacity building. Over the years, she has increasingly shifted her attention to the people in the organizations, to the managerial potential, the building competencies and personal development as factors of success.
After the undoubted success of her joint master class with Emile Magrisot, at the Academy on the topic of stress and anxiety, a new class on "What we can learn through conflicts and how to manage them constructively" will be held on April 12.
Exclusively for Live Elegantly Academy, Eli answers some of the most intriguing questions about conflict, stress, and managing spring fatigue that affects our strength this season.
Conflict... Is it bad or good?
Conflict can be both bad and good. The modern view on conflict distinguishes between constructive and destructive conflicts. Destructive conflicts are destructive, they lead to stress, withdrawal from each other and often leave a long-lasting negative mark on relationships. Constructive conflicts, on the other hand, can lead to finding a better or new solution and even increase our trust in each other or in the team. What will be the conflict and its outcome depends entirely on the attitudes and behaviour of the participants in the conflict.
What can we learn about ourselves through conflict? And what can we learn about the others?
Conflict can teach us many things. Of course, for this we need to ask ourselves the right questions. In a constructive and open dialogue with ourselves, but without self-flagellation, we can consider what our "red buttons" are, what are the things that provoke the strongest negative emotions in us and why this happens. We can make sense of fears that dwell within us on a subconscious level. We may find that we have patterns of behaviour that are not working in our favour. Also, we can learn a lot about each other. As long as we have the ability to listen, but listen to understand.
Usually, when we happen to be in such a situation, we always behave the same, and the relationship with the other party is already uncertain. Is it possible to learn to manage ourselves in such moments?
Yes, that's right - we usually repeat some affirmed behaviour patterns. And they are very often linked to our defence mechanisms, which is why they are so resilient. However, I don't like to use the word "management" when talking about our behaviour and emotions, because management involves planning, total control and repetition, and this somehow burdens us with an unrealistic and stressful expectation of perfection. So, I prefer in these cases to use words like regulation and change. Yes, we can learn to regulate our emotions and change our behaviour. We can learn, in times of conflict, to resort to behaviours that are more constructive and that will get us out of the conflict unscathed. However, this happens by developing new abilities, new skills.
We are only a few days away from the training you will conduct at the "Live Elegantly" Academy on the topic "What we can learn from conflicts and how to manage them constructively". How can we change our thinking within a few hours?
Within a few hours, of course, it is not possible to carry out a total transformation. My goal in the time we have is to help people think about conflict from a different perspective, to ask themselves questions about their behaviour in conflict, and to turn the spotlight on aspects that very often remain in the darkness of our unconscious mechanisms. This is sometimes quite enough to understand that we can change our attitudes, we can think and behave in a different way and that this different way will be much more favourable for ourselves and for others. And with this, let's start a process of personal growth, which everyone can then proceed in the way they find most suitable for themselves. Some people prefer to learn on their own, others seek feedback or the help of a coach or mentor, it's very individual for everyone.
Conflicts inevitably lead to stress. In another of your classes, you talk about stress and anxiety and how to manage them. Are there special techniques for that purpose which work without fail? Could you share one with us for our readers to employ.
There are many techniques for reducing stress, none of which is one-size-fits-all. Just as there is a difference between acute and chronic stress. Everyone has to find what works best for them. But if I had to say which technique is the fastest and easiest, I'd say: stop every now and then, slow down the crazy pace at which we're all moving and take a few deep, conscious breaths. Breathe, smile at the spring and think with gratitude about the good things that each of us has in his/her life! This is sometimes absolutely enough to turn the energy around. And we only need a minute, no special time is required (we always complain that we do not have the time to do things like that). During the upcoming training, we will talk about how important it is, during a conflict situation, to slow down, to hold back the reaction. I will also teach specific techniques for achieving this when emotions in a dispute escalate.
We are on the threshold of spring. Spring fatigue is already setting in, and one of its symptoms is higher stress levels. What can we do at this time of year? How can we preserve our energy and vitality?
We should not think that spring will inevitably bring fatigue and some form of stress. If we fixate on this thought, we can only trigger what is known in psychology as a self-fulfilling prophecy. We need to take the time to listen to ourselves and understand what we need most at this moment. This is the other reason why it is vitally important to slow down, to sometimes stop this rollercoaster that our everyday life has become. When talking about energy, it is also important to remember that energy is physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. And in order to feel good and vibrant, we need to take care of each of these aspects. And spring fatigue is best overcome with more time spent out in nature, under natural sunlight. The sun and physical activity increase the levels of serotonin and endorphins, and this immediately affects us as a feeling of better mood and increased vitality.
If you want to learn how to manage conflicts constructively, sign up for Eli Dinkova's lecture "Conflict - good or bad?" What can we learn from conflicts and how to manage them constructively".