The Foreseeable Now

Conflict Hooks, Stuck Stories, and Disagreeing Better with Tammy Lenski

Episode Summary

What is conflict trying to tell us? What's the "wish" behind criticism? How can conflict be a portal to connection? Dr. Tammy Lenski is one of my favorite experts on conflict. She really gets the dynamics of conflict which means she deeply understands the heart of connection and our universal human need to be seen. She is masterful at inviting us into the questions, and helping people understand how the past is present and the present moment holds our potential and power to "pivot" and write a new story. She says that the "relief" that comes from working through our conflicts comes "from the now, not from the past." She is a conflict resolution educator, speaker, author, coach, and mediator. For more than twenty years, she has helped individuals, teams, and groups navigate disagreement better, understand and dissolve interpersonal friction, and consider different ways of seeing to build alignment. I love how she says "good questions and good listening are the rock star duo" of conflict resolution, and that these can get us "80% of the way". The rest, as she explains, is the work we do with ourselves. In this deeply human, clear-eyed, provocative, and hopeful conversation about conflict and its painful hooks, I've come to realize that Tammy Lenski is truly an expert in cultivating the "willingness to see something different." We talk about how our conflict stories can become what Tammy calls our "stuck stories" (the "movie trailer of the conflict"), how the past is present, and she explains her six conflict hooks. We explore the pain and potential of distancing spirals, the wish behind criticism, and her three conflict pivots. The good news is that we can rewrite our conflict stories by exploring our own needs, wishes, and values, find our strengths, and cultivate connection in our relationships with others - and ourselves.

Episode Notes

For more on Dr. Tammy Lenski's wonderful work, check out her website:

Check out her book The Conflict Pivot: Turning Conflict into Peace of Mind.

Explore her deeply thoughtful, smart and highly accessible Conflict Resolution Tools.

Reflect with her Query Cards:

And listen to her wisdom on her Disagree Better podcast:


The Foreseeable Now is hosted and executive produced by Lu Hanessian. Original music by KANO SOUND. 

Mixed and mastered by Nick Kepron. Subscribe where you listen, share and follow us @theforeseeablenowpodcast.