CONFLICT – What does that word mean to you? I’d be very surprised if you had no thoughts on this subject. They could largely be positive thoughts – “Yay, now we know there’s a problem, let’s fix it!” or they could be strongly negative thoughts: “Run/keep quiet/fight back”.
Either way, confrontation evokes feelings within all of us, and it should!
Understand that responding to conflict
is hard wired into our brains in order to alert us to a threat so we can take action before we’re overwhelmed. This is a great mechanism when our lives are literally being threatened…not so much when we have to deal with a difficult customer or colleague.
And here’s the problem. When faced with a ‘scary’ situation at work, you are going to make it worse
if you choose the ‘fight’ option. So you choose the ‘keep quiet and hope it goes away’, which is classically the ‘avoid or freeze’ option. Or we simply ‘run’ away – really inefficient too. These three options tend to ensure that the problem on hand is going to grow, and so is our fear!
Here are four tips
to help you make the right choice rather than resorting to any of the above options:
• Find common ground between you and the other person
– say something like: “This is really a problem, I agree with you 100%, we must sort it out – let’s see how it happened”. In this example, you are effectively moving the ‘problem’ to a place of its own – no longer between you and the other person. Now it’s you two against the problem – not each other.
• Dig down to find out exactly what the issue is
, rather than taking it at face value. Often the actual source of conflict about which you are arguing is hiding deep inside the emotion – it’s far removed from what you’re yelling at each other about. The outworking is merely a symptom.
• Approach the situation with a pure heart
, ie examine your motives and check that you actually do want to solve this problem rather than involve yourself in a power struggle. As soon as it becomes a win/lose situation, you’ve set yourself up for a rematch.
• Lastly, learn how to approach these matters in a calmly assertive
manner – no finger pointing, blaming or emotional reactions. Be mindful and act rather than react.
We have been running Conflict Prevention and Resolution
and Communication Excellence
workshops for the past 19 years and pride ourselves on the measurably real results they produce. Hope to see you soon!
Email us at info@StaffTraining.co.za
for more info or give us a call at 0861 996 660