An unresolved conflict is hugely detrimental to relationships, teamwork and productivity. It must therefore be dealt quickly with—which, for many, is easier said than done.
On the topic of conflict, best selling author, Seth Godin, said:
“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?”
Destructive Ways of Dealing With Conflict
Avoiding confronting the conflict is common—and hugely destructive.
Other destructive approaches are to:
- Tell the other person they’re wrong
- Not candidly disclosing your thoughts
- Hiding how you’re feeling
- Negatively expressing your emotions (by speaking harshly or raising your voice, for example)
- Focusing on your needs and disregarding theirs.
Constructive Ways of Dealing With Conflict
Conversely, the most constructive approaches to conflict are to:
- Accept there are differences in how you’re currently seeing the situation—no making it about who’s right and who’s wrong
- Listen to the other person’s perspective—until you fully understand their thoughts and feelings
- Openly communicating what you think and how you feel—being candid makes it easier to manage anxiety or boiling emotions
- Only point your finger inward—no blaming or accusing the other person
- Consider their wants and needs—go for a win/win outcome
- Talk through the problem succinctly and quickly move to jointly exploring potential solutions.
> When you don’t blame them, you’ll encourage non-blaming.
> When you listen, you’ll encourage listening.
> When you’re authentic, you’ll provoke their authenticity.
> When you disclose what’s really going on for you, you’ll build trust.
> When you consider their needs, they’ll consider yours.
> When you talk solutions, you’ll inspire a constructive turnaround.
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 or upsetting the other person?
Well, here’s the thing…
When you follow the above recommendations, you stand a good chance of creating a successful outcome and a healthy relationship.
You could even end up smiling so hard your cheeks hurt :-).
“My sincere appreciation for the guidance you have provided to me as an executive coach over the last
few months. I’m sure my promotion 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:
For more than 25-years, Carolyn Stevens has helped leaders flourish and become more confident, more courageous and impressively influential (including those who’ve previously struggled to confront difficult situations, let alone persuasively deal with them).
Plus, as a personal career strategist, she specialises in helping ambitious female leaders create a reputation as an indispensable first-class leader.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She’ll draw on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit your situation.
She’s never too busy to talk to you if you’re in a hurry to boost your success. Same goes for leaders you refer.
Email if you’d like to arrange a time to chat: [email protected]