How to Avoid Tea Cup Genocide


There you are at a meeting with your work team discussing some important issue as your deadline for the ultimate report of the death is approaching.

Nobody really finds solutions to the problems you have to face and an awkward silence comfortably installes itself into the room….but then a miracle! The light at the end of the tunnel! You have an idea. No, it’s not an idea; it’s THE idea that will allow you to go on with your work in peace and harmony with all your team members under a rainbow of happiness (in your humble and objective opinion of course).

But what a surprise when I just see blank faces in front of me after I exposed my epiphany (yes I think I can give up the anonymous thing right now it’s just not believable anymore)  . But wait! Not just blank faces actually but also some eyebrows rising in sign of disapprobation….and wait no! Even Peter starts moving his lips and gives the two letter sentence: “No” (actually what he said more something like there’s no way on earth we can achieve your stupid, unrealistic and unworkable idea but whatever).

My turn to reply with a “you can’t be serious!” and his to say “Well did you think of X, Y and Z? I’ve already been stuck months because of dumb ass ideas like yours with a project in the past and I won’t let this happen again”

O______O (= I’m bursting into flames from the inside… yes it’s possible even when not a vampire)

Awkward silence again…

But not for long because I would come with some totally non related insult, Peter would raise up out of temper, Jenny would start crying, I would shout something at her like to be a part in the “discussion” instead of being so useless, and on and on until an innocent tea cup would be smashed on the table at some point and everybody would come back home frustrated, angry, disappointed and above all stressed out about the report.


What just happened? A  COMPLETE disaster and lack of self control for sure. And a tea cup murder. Which is not acceptable (the lack of self control AND the tea cup murder).

So what could I have done to avoid this? What could YOU do when in a similar situation (which will happen one day or another believe me as there are loads of Peters on this earth).

A conflict at work specialist named Ghislaine Labelle (which by the way means “the beautiful” in French so I think we should certainly listen to her) gives us some tips to “put an end to the escalation of conflicts and help resolve one that has already erupted” (2009: 116) :

  • Demand a time out
  • Develop a code of conduct with everybody to stop unacceptable behaviours
  • Inform yourself of the needs and expectation of everybody so in one word LISTEN
  • Consult an external and COMPETENT source to help you to sort things out with a fresh and objective eye on the matter if needed

I reckon that demanding a time out is quite hard sometimes and especially in front of Peters…but what do you think? Do you have your own Peter in your team work too? Did you ever reduce into pieces innocent objects instead of being a reasonable grown up? (reasonable is not fun) Or do you have other tips for me or any other person who may have to handle conflicts at home, at work or at school?

Please join the conversation  =^_^=


9 responses »

  1. XD I love the cat pic! (Yes I like lol cats u_u” ) So funny but I am a bit sad for the innocent tea cup… I had a “Peter” in a work team in Montreal, his name was Pierre and I hated him!!! But I never attack poor innocent objects because of him, I have a lot of selfcontrol (hum hum, yes I am perfect, why not? ).

  2. I agree that demanding time out to think about things can often been very difficult, and in the heat of the moment it is easy for the conflict to get heated. But by inviting someone impartial to the conversation always helps everyone to see things more objectively and put emotions aside. Great post Alix, I love the cat picture too ^ ^

  3. Omg, I have been in this situation too many times and I probably get just as passionate and mad as you did in a situation like that!! I think you give good advise about the steps that you should take but I think I am too impulsive to go through with it :S

    I actually just wrote a blog post about a similar topic. It is about conflict behaviour styles which is also an important fact to consider when trying to resolve a conflict. Why don’t you check it out and let me know what you think? Link:

    I really enjoyed your post, Laura 🙂

  4. Hiya!

    It can certainly be difficult when involved in a situation like this. It’s difficult to think rationally when you have a strong opinion about something and you just want your opinion to be heard.

    I think it’s important for all parties to listen carefully to what everyone else has to say, and to act calmly and rationally to enable the conflict to have a positive outcome.

    Daisy xx

  5. Great examples of conflict, really helps understand the situation.

    I can’t say I’ve been in that situation in a professional working environment but I most certainly have during university group work! It can really help a situation by knowing how to deal with it appropriately and that work by Ghislaine Labelle give some helpful pointers.


  6. So funny the way you describe the conflict! Especially when Jenny start crying XD
    I want to offer my condolences and my sincere sympathy to you and the tea pot in the loss of your tea cup…

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