Why is conflict so hard? In the workplace and also in personal relationships conflict can be hazardous to the wellbeing of two people when and if it is not handled properly. It can weaken trust, create distance, and threaten bonds which are not that strong. As a leader it is important to be able to handle conflict in a way that is healthy. So how can you handle conflict in a way which furthers and enhances relationships instead of being detrimental to them?
- Understand your feelings - first determining what it is that you are feeling and why. What is triggering you? What is upsetting you? What about the situation is bringing up emotions for you?
- Determine what needs to be communicated - once you identify your feelings lean into figuring out the facts associated with the feeling. What is logically making you upset so that you can determine whether you need to communicate it or not. If it something that needs to be communicated in order to further/deepen a relationship figure out what the non-emotional way to present it is.
- Go into the conversation with positive intention - typically people are trying the best that they can. If you can go into the conversation with the mindset that neither person has bad intent then you can come from a positive place looking for a win-win solution for both people or a compromise that can work for both of you.
- Make the conversation safe for the other person - ask questions and determine where the other person is coming from. Listen to their perspective, try to understand where they are coming from. As Steven Covey says "seek first to understand, rather than being understood."
- Find the win-win solution for both sides - through the dialogue determine what could be a good solution for both people. Once you understand the other side you may determine it was a miscommunication and/or find empathy for the other person. Focus on ways to continue to work together and make the situation work for both sides.
How do you handle conflict? Is it detrimental to your relationships and/or constructive and positive? If it is destructive which of the above steps can you begin to focus on in order to shift?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.