The Space Between: Conflict Resolution with Dr. Tammy Lenski-logo

The Space Between: Conflict Resolution with Dr. Tammy Lenski

Health & Wellness Podcasts

Get better results from your most difficult and important conversations

Get better results from your most difficult and important conversations


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Get better results from your most difficult and important conversations




Choosing the right conflict resolution tools

We use tools to do something more effectively and efficiently. But just like physical tools, ill-chosen conflict resolution tools will not yield the results we need. Here are three questions to help choose and use the right conflict resolution tools for the moment. Show notes The Conflict Resolution Toolbox Gaining psychological distance from a conflict […]

Every conflict contains a bid to be seen

One reason disagreements turn into conflict and ongoing tension is our failure to see — or acknowledge that we see — the other person in the way they most deeply wish to be seen in the world. One way to disagree better is to respond to their bid to be seen, not with miserly reticence, […]

How to influence the way people act during conflict

If you believe someone is aggressive, could they behave more aggressively with you than with others? If someone believes you are a hostile person, are you likely to act more hostile when you interact with them? It’s called behavioral confirmation and if you’re interested in your own or others’ conflict behavior, it’s worth understanding. Show […]

A way to turn anger into curiosity

In this episode Only people we love and care deeply about can make us so angry we want to blow a gasket, says famed Star Trek actor George Takei. When someone or something we care deeply about sparks big anger, here’s a way to turn anger into curiosity and use it positively. Show notes This […]

Replay: How to express a concern without making things worse

In this episode This is a replay of a 2018 episode. When I ask clients why they let a problem go on for so long before addressing it, a common reply is, “I was afraid I’d create more conflict by raising it.” It’s an understandable fear. Here are some tried-and-true ways to raise an issue […]


Start with a small yes

In this episode The outset of a difficult conversation often feels like a back-and-forth trading of position and perspective with little common ground. Here’s how to use the psychology of agreement to begin shifting that kind of positional debate to collaborative problem solving. Show notes Jim Collins’ “right people on the bus” About shared reality […]

Slow down and be the Bedouin

In this episode It feels productive to toss out ideas for a solution and demonstrate how much we want to help. But it’s usually unproductive if we haven’t done something essential first: Make sure we understand the problem from their frame of reference. Show notes Eureka! vs. “Hmm, that’s interesting…”

Do the next right thing

In this episode When we’re overwhelmed by a difficult conversation, one reason can be that we’re too focused on the horizon and not focused enough on the very next step. A very helpful mindset in moments like this is to “do the next right thing.” Show notes Burlington Taiko drummers at the Vermont City Marathon […]

Replay: How to politely interrupt long-winded talkers

In this episode When we listen well, sometimes others hog air time and just keep talking. It’s an inadvertent, and often unwelcome, side effect of good listening. Here’s a way I like to handle long-winded talkers that’s both effective and kind.

When confronting difficult behavior, avoid this common blunder

In this episode When confronting difficult behavior, we typically focus on what we want the other person to stop doing. Sometimes this works. But too often, we create a “behavior vacuum” with this approach, making it harder for them to stop the difficult behavior. Here’s how to avoid this common misstep. Show notes Susan Garrett’s […]

Control emotions better by labeling them

In this episode When we want to control emotions better in the midst of a difficult conversation, we may try to ignore the unwelcome emotion or try the opposite, indulge it. These approaches don’t work very well in the face of incapacitating emotions. But something else does: Give the emotion a name. Show notes Lieberman’s […]

Blame vs contribution

In this episode Blame vs contribution — the differences are straightforward to grasp intellectually, yet sometimes tricky to employ effectively in conflict situations. Here are a few ways to shift a conversation from blame to contribution without appearing to blame the victim. Show notes Evolutionary roots of blame Fake apologies Why it’s harder to see […]

A lesson in compassion and understanding from a most annoying woman

In this episode When we say we want to understand someone, but then view them through our own judgmentalism, we’re not being honest with ourselves. Compassion and understanding go hand in hand — when we let them. Show notes A bit more about stealing attention A bit more about frame of reference

Flip the problem to illuminate hidden solutions

In this episode The way we approach problem solving influences the solutions we can see — and are willing to see. When problem solving gets stuck, sometimes the best way to get unstuck isn’t to keep searching for better options or downgrade our expectations, but to flip the problem we’re trying to solve. Show notes […]

Replay: Want different behavior from someone?

In this episode If you believe someone is aggressive, could they behave more aggressively with you than with others? If someone believes you are a hostile person, are you likely to act more hostile when you interact with them? Yes. It’s called behavioral confirmation and it has an impact on conflict resolution. This episode originally aired […]

Replay: The question that ends hamster wheel debates

In this episode Some debates, arguments, and bickering go on and on, without leading anywhere (except to more frustration). If you find yourself in this kind of debate, or are trying to stop others caught in one, here’s a single question that’s almost magical in its power to help. This episode originally aired in November […]


4 handy principles for deciding when you can’t agree

In this episode When you can’t agree even with your best effort, having fallback criteria can break the agreement logjam and allow you get on with other things. Show notes Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip and Dan Heath

Is the Einstellung effect interfering with your problem solving?

In this episode The Einstellung effect is a cognitive trap that prevents us from seeing better or simpler solutions to problems we’re trying to solve. Here’s how to recognize it and reduce its effect.

5 bad listening habits and how to break them

In this episode Conflict has a way of magnifying our bad listening habits. I frequently see the following listening habits get in the way of constructive and collaborative problem-solving during conflict and thought I’d flag them for attention. Show notes The switch costs of multi-tasking Get into their movie The art of racing in the […]

The body in the suitcase and the conflict stories we tell

In this episode When we get into a conflict with someone, it’s natural to replay our experience of the conflict, both in our minds and as we tell others about it. Over time, this replay can begin to feel like The Truth About What Happened. But it isn’t.