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How does the Winners Triangle work?

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The Winners Triangle is a concept that discusses how to turn a drama triangle into something positive and turn a quarrel into a win-win situation.

A Drama Triangle is created when someone feels threatened and perceives that their needs are not being met. It may lead to the person withdrawing or fighting with their perceived persecutor. As the conflict escalates, they likely find themselves in a lose-lose situation.

You can resolve this by meeting their needs and working towards a win-win solution.

Example: Have you ever met someone who can never be satisfied?

This type of person is known as a perfectionist. Perfectionists often have high expectations for themselves and others and can be critical. You may feel frustrated about how you cannot measure up to their standards, making you feel inferior or inadequate.

You will resolve the situation in this drama triangle, a threat to needs and perceived persecution through avoidance or confrontation. The avoidant solution is to avoid the situation altogether, which only causes conflict to continue. It may make you feel frustrated about the lack of opportunities to prove yourself or be rewarded for your efforts. As a result, you may become critical of others and unwilling to cooperate.

The confrontation solution, on the other hand, leads to a win-lose situation for you. The other party may feel threatened by your apparent criticism and respond with criticism of their own. It probably won’t make you feel good about yourself and will likely result in further retaliation from both parties.

A third way exists, which will lead you to a win-win situation.

It involves taking control of your emotions and behaving how you would like to be treated.

There are three steps involved to create a win-win situation:

1. Acknowledgement

As soon as a situation is created, it must be acknowledged as an issue. It means you must acknowledge your need for an issue to exist and begin the dialogue by saying, “I’m frustrated by this…” or “I feel hurt by this…”.

2. Emotions

As you explore the situation, ask yourself, “What does this situation mean to me?”. Be honest about how the situation makes you feel, and include any thoughts or feelings that might be difficult to share.

3. Win-Win

Once you have finished exploring your feelings, focus on generating solutions that will address all parties’ needs. It means finding a solution that addresses your needs and meets the needs of all parties involved. For example, if you feel a co-worker has unfairly treated you, ask yourself, “What can I do to improve things?”

This triangle has advantages over other win-win ways of resolving conflict because it encourages people to be better at listening and speaking than avoiding or confronting. Also, you can address all points of view, positive or negative, in a way that makes everyone feel like they have contributed something positive.