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Sometimes the tension at work is so thick you can cut it with a knife. If this happens in your organization, you might be struggling with dialectical tensions.
The Dialectical Model is the perspective that people in virtually all interpersonal relationships must deal with equally important, simultaneous, and opposing forces. For example, in an argument with someone important to you, the desire to win (satisfying the need to be “right”) clashes with the social need of maintaining a good relationship.
There are many dialectical tensions that can cause stress in relationships.
Impartiality vs. Favoritism, Approval vs. Personal Effectiveness, Emotional Closeness vs. Distance, Equality vs. Inequality, Openness vs. Closedness, Expression vs. Non-expression, Revelation vs. Concealment, Candor vs. Secrecy, Transparency vs. Privacy, Connection vs. Autonomy, Instrumentality vs. Affection, Novelty vs. Predictability, Stability vs. Change, Past vs. Present, Integration vs. Separation, Old vs. New, Consistency vs. Flexibility, Conventionally vs. Uniqueness, Certainty vs. Uncertainty, Own vs. Other’s Needs, Our Time Frame vs. Their Time Frame, Short- vs. Long-Term Objectives, and Territoriality.
Here are some strategies that can help with managing these dialectical tensions.
First, awareness is critical. Then consider sharing ideas and feelings through a third party.
Maybe consider accepting compromises in which people back off from expressing either end of the dialectical spectrum.
Or change your perspective and choose to regard the inevitable challenges of managing dialectical tensions as exciting opportunities to grow instead of as relational problems.
A final strategy would be acknowledging that dialectical tensions will never disappear and accepting or even embracing the challenges they present.
Tension is natural, it’s normal, it just needs to be recognized and managed.
People have differences in perspective. View dialectical tension as just part of life. Identify dialectical tensions, discuss differences, and offer options.
If you need to find a keynote speaker, plenary speaker, breakout speaker, concurrent session speaker, seminar leader, or workshop facilitator who can deliver in-person, virtually, or via prerecorded session, Kit Welchlin, M.A., CSP, CVP, is a nationally recognized professional motivational speaker and author and can be found at www.welchlin.com or www.SeminarsOnStress.com.