Here’s what Seth Godin, the clever thinking, best-selling author, said about conflict:
“One of us is wrong… and it’s not me.
That’s the way every single conflict begins. Of course it does, because if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be a conflict, would it?
So, given that the other person is sure you’re wrong, what are you going to do about it?
Pointing out that they’re wrong doesn’t help, because now you’ve said the second thing in a row that your partner/customer/prospect/adversary doesn’t believe is true.”
It’s Not Uncommon For Conflicts To Remain Unresolved
And when conflicts aren’t resolved they’re mega destructive to relationships and to teamwork—and therefore to productivity too!
Tuck this foolproof way of dealing with conflict under your arm and you’ll stop sidestepping those tricky conversations.
That will definitely be career enhancing, and confidence enhancing. (Of course the reverse applies. Many careers plateau because of conflict aversion.
How To Effectively Navigate And Resolve Conflict
You’d be tackling your conflict in a destructive way if you were to:
- Point out to the other person how wrong they are—and stick adamantly to your position.
- Not disclose how you’re feeling about the issue—or negatively express your emotions (by raising your voice, for example).
- Go for winning—regardless of the impact that that’ll have on the other person.
- Avoid communicating about the situation at all—or not communicate authentically.
You’ll be dealing with your conflict in a constructive way when you:
- Accept that there are differences in how you’re both currently perceiving the situation—don’t make it about who’s right and who’s wrong.
- Listen to the other person’s view—until you fully understand their thinking and how they’re feeling about the situation too.
- Openly communicate what you think and how you feel about the situation—in order to manage your frustrations and develop more trust.
- Only point your finger inward at yourself—never blame or accuse the other person.
- Consider their wants and needs—and go for a win/win outcome.
- Discuss potential solutions as soon as it’s practical to do so—explore the options together.
(I’m assuming that you want to build rapport and trust in the relationship with the person with whom you’re in conflict.)
What If They Take A “Destructive” Approach?
I hear you say, “It’s one thing for me to approach the conflict constructively but what if the other party is doing the “destructive” thing? What options do I have?”
Regardless of their stance, use the pro tips in this template and watch the conflict dissolve…
When you don’t blame them, you encourage non–blaming.
When you listen, you provoke listening.
When you’re authentic, you induce candour.
When you disclose what’s going on for you, you build trust.
When you consider their needs, they consider your needs.
When you talk solutions, you inspire a positive way out of the conflict.
Your Action Plan
Are you avoiding dealing with a conflict because you’re not sure how to handle it and you want to steer clear of a verbal wrestling match?
Well, here’s the thing…
The approach and attitude that you bring to the table will be way more important to a successful outcome than your explanation, justification and rationalisation about your current position.
Watch. When you apply the above pro tips you’ll end up smiling so hard your cheeks hurt
P.S. If you want more guidance and perhaps more intense support with resolving conflict, or dealing with any leadership or career roadblock, check out the details here: dealwithyourroadblocks.com.au
“Just a brief note to record my sincere appreciation of the guidance you have provided to me as an executive coach over the last few months. I am sure that my promotion to UK Marketing Director was in no small way directly influenced by the improvements in my people skills you helped bring about. I have recommended you to my successor.”
– Product Development Manager, ASX top 100 company
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.