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Unformatted text preview: Hey Buzz Off! (Or, How to Reduce Your Defensiveness) Judge James Tamm, Vice President Business Consultants Network, Inc. 800/462-5874; www.RadicalCollaboration.com 90 th Annual International Supply Management Conference, May 2005 Abstract: Any system, process or strategy can get royally screwed up by defensive behavior. Defensiveness in conflict is like blood in the water to a shark. Just a little bit can lead to a feeding frenzy. In 25 years as a judge specializing in employment disputes I almost never had to deal with pure legal issues. Parties were almost always before me because someone got defensive, became rigid in their thinking, and lost their problem solving ability. They not only became ineffective themselves, but they also invited everyone else they were dealing with to get defensive and become a lousy problem solver. Successful supply managers have to be able to deal with conflict skillfully. The single most important thing people can do to be more effective in conflict is to stay non-defensive. Defensiveness is a psychological mechanism that helps people avoid feeling something they dont want to feel when they get into stressful situations. The underlying emotions being avoided usually have to do with some variation of the fear of feeling insignificant, incompetent or unlovable. Defensiveness distorts our reality, causing us to spend more energy on self-or unlovable....
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