Conversation Starters that Enable Conflict Resolution
Hot emotion raises aggression and lowers IQ.
Don’t wait for the heat of conflict to determine how to handle conflict.
It takes more courage to develop a plan to resolve conflict than it takes to face conflict after it erupts.
Conflict is inevitable. Establish rules of engagement before conflict erupts.
Lack of preparation exacerbates conflict.
A clear path forward makes stressful situations less stressful.
7 conversation starts:
Develop a conflict-resolution-plan WITH your team, not FOR your team.
Participation increases ownership. When emotion is high, ownership lowers finger-pointing and keeps everyone engaged.
#1. How do you want to be treated when conflict flares up?
#2. How will we treat each other during conflict?
#3. How do we want people to feel during conflict resolution?
#4. What are you willing to commit to NOT do during conflict? To do?
#5. What will we do when someone does something we’ve agreed not to do?
#6. What shared commitments will help our team successfully navigate conflict?
#7. What procedure should we establish? A procedure might look like…
- Define the problem in behavioral language. What are people DOING that causes this problem? What are people NOT doing that causes this problem?
- Define the problem as an unmet goal. We’re trying to increase profits, but sales is spending more than ever. (Production and sales often experience conflict.)
- Agree on a shared outcome. What will be true if we solve this conflict?
- Develop a list of potential solutions. Define solutions in terms of behaviors.
- Agree on next steps. Declare commitments. “I’m going to….”
- Schedule a follow-up meeting.
Established procedures clarify responsibility and protect leaders. When you have a procedure for conflict resolution, leaders can ask, “Have you followed our procedure for conflict resolution?” before they intervene.
Use the above conversation starters, or craft your own, but start the conversation and develop the process.
What conversation starters might help teams develop a conflict resolution plan?
What steps are important on a conflict resolution plan?
6 Steps to Conflict Resolution in the Workplace (HR Daily Advisor)
How to Handle Conflict in the Workplace (Monster)
Ten Tips and Tactics for Dealing with Conflict (Techrepublic)
1. Let’s figure out where we agree and disagree.
Rules of engagement
1. No yelling or screaming
2. No interrupting the other person.
3. Summarize what the other person said before making your point.
4. Fully consider the ideas and facts that are presented.
5. No bringing up issues from the past. Stay focused on the current issue.
Ditto all Paul says here,
except allowing the past NOT to be material to the present,
if only because it is most certainly a causative factor in whatever conflict there is,
but also because it MUST be relevant to our future.
Evasion of the past only ensures that its mistakes WILL be repeated. In which case only ignorance (and “feelings”) reign.
Mistakes repeated are actually (poor) decisions being made.
“Where’s this (really) coming from?” needs to be part of any honest dialogue. IMHO.
There’s one thing that permeates any conflict/accident/argument … denial.
For each of us, it’s a reactive denial/rage,
“I had nothing to do with it (this bad thing).”
Therefore, the first mutual commitment is to the humanizing principle of “Its AT LEAST 15% MY fault, just because I’m here, now.”
The leader to the Other side of the challenge will (humbly) state this in no gratuitous terms,
and HOW (not WHY, as the devil’s in the detail, not the intent).
The effort is to get each of us to humanize our Self first, so that we can stop demonizing one another. Once this ethic takes hold and everyone is humbled, whatever seemed to be “wrong” becomes moot (beside the point), and the “right” path emerges as if it were common sense (and God was in the details all along).
Once it’s safe to admit our fault(s), it’s so much easier to see the Way.
(Works 85-90% of the time … it’s just a matter of the authoritarians and reactionaries to put their weapons aside).