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Chapter 18. Defining the Problem > What’s the Problem?

What’s the Problem?

For each of the following examples, fill in the “label” that someone might use to describe the person or the person’s attitude or motivation. This is what most people do—label the other person—and this labeling is one of the reasons why a confrontation attempt may fail. After identifying the label that seems to fit the person, write a description of the specific behavior without using any judgmental words or personal adjectives.

  Terry, a teenager, takes a seat at the dinner table, looks at the meal placed there, rolls his eyes toward the ceiling, and says, “I can’t believe we’re having this again! Don’t you have any imagination? This is the most boring food in town!”

What label describes Terry? __________________________________________

What is the specific behavior? _______________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

  Terry could be described as insolent, sullen, disrespectful or insubordinate, among other things. The specific behavior is making disparaging remarks about the meal.
  Rosa arrives for the 8:00 A.M. staff meeting at about 8:15 A.M. and, while avoiding eye contact with the others, finds an empty chair. While she is arranging several folders of materials and searching through her purse for something else, she knocks over her coffee cup. She grabs for the folders to save them from the coffee, and the contents of the folders fly everywhere. Rosa utters an expletive, collapses into her chair, and buries her face in her hands.

What label describes Rosa? __________________________________________

What is the specific behavior? _______________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

  Rosa could be described as tardy, disorganized, clumsy, or uncommunicative. The specific behavior is arriving at 8:15 a.m. for an 8:00 a.m. meeting, spilling coffee, and dropping papers while attempting to save them from the coffee.




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