Amanda Ripley: High Conflict
Amanda Ripley is an investigative journalist and a New York Times bestselling author. She’s spent her career trying to make sense of complicated human mysteries, from what happens to our brains in a disaster to how some countries manage to educate virtually all their kids to think for themselves.
Her first book, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—and Why*, was published in 15 countries and turned into a PBS documentary. Her next book, The Smartest Kids in the World—and How They Got That Way*, was a New York Times bestseller. Her most recent book is High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out*.
In this conversation, Amanda and I discuss the distinction between good, healthy conflict — and high conflict that becomes unproductive for almost everybody. We discuss how humiliation is often such a strong catalyst for high conflict. Finally, we explore many of the practical steps to take in order to avoid the worst conflicts and do better for ourselves and our organizations.
- Good conflict often brings surprises, but high conflict is surprisingly predictable.
- Humiliation is one of the most powerful fire starters in triggering high conflict.
- Limit humiliation by avoiding attacks on someone’s identity, especially in a public forum.
- Distancing yourself from “conflict entrepreneurs” can help provide the space to emerge from high conflict.
- Resist binaries and us vs. them language. When people get sorted into two groups, that can lay a foundation for high conflict.
- Slowing down conflict can often provide the opportunity to emerge with productive dialogue.
- High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out* by Amanda Ripley
- How to Listen When Someone Is Venting, with Mark Goulston (episode 91)
- How to Deal with Opponents and Adversaries, with Peter Block (episode 328)
- How to Find Confidence in Conflict, with Kwame Christian (episode 380)
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