Conflict Management Blog by Cinnie Noble
For this week’s blog I thought I would bring back a blog that was very popular a few years ago. So, this one is from the archives (originally posted January 22, 2013):
The metaphor of an iceberg has commonly been used as a metaphor about conflict. This is on the basis that there are things above the surface that show themselves and then, there is all that is going on underneath. Compared to conflict, some things are obvious to the disputants (and often others) that reflect the dynamic between them, the issues in dispute, and other aspects of the existing dissension. These are above the water ‘line’.
Below the water line is much more. There are hopes, expectations, emotions, needs, values, beliefs, and other deeply held views and feelings. Our individual and collective histories that we bring to the issues in dispute are in the mass below the surface, too. While, for all intents and purposes, this underlying mass appears to be unnoticed or remains unspoken, it has an enormous impact on the interaction. Indeed, it is an integral part of the conflict and who we are within it, within ourselves, and within the relationship.
Yes, some things may be best left unexplored or untouched. However, without increased self-discovery of what is below the surface, we miss the opportunity to better understand and reconcile our motivations and expectations. And to consider what ought to be shared and discussed, and what needs to remain dormant to reach the optimum outcome.
For these ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions), consider a conflict in which you see or feel that only the tip of the iceberg is showing itself.
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