I liked this guidance from Dr. Britt Andreata on addressing conflict through managing difficult conversations
Here’s how the typical bad scenario unfolds:
1. Problems begin with another person (e.g. annoying or unwanted behaviors).
2. People start building their cases – listing the wrongs done to them, collecting corroborating evidence, and seeking validation from others.
3. There is a tipping point in terms of frequency or intensity of the problems that lead to a confrontation where accusations are made and blame is attributed.
4. Then the aftermath in terms of a animosity, loss of trust, and a damaged relationship.
Here’s a better way to deal:
1. Problems begin with another person.
2. People spend some time reflecting on why the behavior is affecting you, getting clear on what you want to correct it, and trying to see from the other person’s perspective.
3. The tipping point is sooner in terms of the frequency and intensity of the problems–so you nip it in the bud earlier–and you have a conversation with the other person where you have reframed the other person from an adversary to a partner (e.g. you’ve questioned the facts, assumptions, conclusions along with your emotions, beliefs, and actions–and you’ve looked at alternative narratives to these) and you take responsibility for your part, share your experience and goals to improve things, invite their perceptions, and “co-create solutions.”
4. Follow through with the other person to work together, implement the changes, and hold each other accountable to address the issues.
The amazing thing about this approach to conflict management is that assuming the other person isn’t truly bad, evil, or gunning for you is that we can look at things from constructive perspective where we own our part, and they own theirs, and together we work together to make things better for everyone. 😉
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)