You make conflict worse when you …

You make conflict worse when you …

#1. Say calm down. Does anything fire you up more than someone telling you to calm down? You’ve just been invalidated.

Feeling put down makes you want to stand up for yourself.

High emotions combined with adrenaline makes fools of us all.

When emotions are high go for a slow walk with your “adversary.” Don’t talk much; just casually walk around the block. If that doesn’t cool the heat, postpone discussions.

#2. Demand that you’re right. Thinking back over the years I’m saddened by my need to be right. It prolonged conflict and strained relationships.

When you need to be right someone else needs to be wrong.

Put two people that need to be right in a room, close the door and walk away, and you’ll end up with the tip of an ear and the tip of a tail. They’ll devour each other.

Worse yet, demanding to be right is a backward facing exercise in futility that tries to fix history. There is only one sentence that solves past mistakes and offences. “I’m sorry, I won’t do that again.” Better yet, “I’m sorry, here’s what I’ll do to prevent that from happening again.”

Conflict resolution is primarily a forward facing process.

#3. Worry about who started it. Never say, “Who started this problem.” Mom was right when she stepped between me and my brothers and said, “I don’t care who started this fight, I’m finishing it.” When you worry about who started the fight you’ll have a conversation that begins something like this, “He hit me first.”

Rather than assigning blame, assign solutions.

Identify behaviors that build rather than undermine productive relationships, commit to them, and create accountability.


What stupid things do leaders do while trying to solve conflicts?

What are your conflict resolution tips?