Conflict: 5 Responses to Any Issue
Where people interact, conflict occurs.
“Researchers found that on average, parents have 2,184 arguments with their kids every year. Each day, in fact, they spend about 49 minutes fighting.” Yahoo
- Average employees spend 2.1 hours a week dealing with disagreements.
- 27% of employees have seen tensions escalate to personal attacks.
- 54% of employees think managers could handle disputes better. (Workplace conflict)
Too little conflict:
Organizations that fight all the time are distracted and paralyzed. Organizations that have no disagreements are avoiding issues.
When everyone gets along someone is faking.
Fear of disagreements doesn’t solve issues. It prolongs them.
People who skirt tough issues choose the easy path instead of the right path.
5 responses to any issue:
#1. Open your mouth to make things better.
- When you’re unsure if words are helpful, stop talking.
- Always seek the best interest of others.
- Temper aggression with kindness.
- Avoid defensiveness. People who need to be right need others to be wrong.
- Apologize quickly.
- Define issues and design solutions.
- Show respect to yourself and others.
#2. Choose positive outcomes.
Don’t start arguing until you define a win that suits all participants.
Know what you’re fighting for.
- What do we want?
- If this conversation goes well, what will be true?
- If we resolve this tension, what will be different?
#3. A little progress is better than none.
Reject the need for perfect solutions.
- What does better look like?
- What’s a small thing that will make a big difference?
#4. Ask questions before making statements.
Hot heads have closed hearts.
Curiosity heads for the door when emotions get hot.
Better to ask a stupid question than make a stupid statement.
#5. Be specific:
Generalities don’t solve specificities.
Ambiguous solutions cause more conflict.
Working harder isn’t a solution to missing a specific target.
Which of the above responses would most help you?
What would you add to the above list?
For me, #4, “Ask questions …” is the most valuable, although the entire list is extremely useful. If I had to add anything, it would be a common thread that we must make sure that we keep the mission in mind always, and make sure that everyone understands the mission and their role in its success. Great post, as always.
Thank you, Jim. It’s so easy to lose sight of the mission when we focus on conflict…. we get tunnel vision.
I will go for this
Always seek the best interest of others
if your suggestion is the best does not mean there are no better suggestions, your suggestion might give temporary solution but another suggestion might give long lasting solution. so always seek the interest of others.
Thanks, Jesudimu. You remind me that most situations have more than one solution. The one I think of seems smart to me. After all, I didn’t get thinking, “How can I offer stupid solutions to people?”
Lack of any disagreement or conflict often indicates “groupthink.”
I thing numbers 4 & 5 are very helpful and useful to “defining the problem.”
In conflict situations, I always try to figure out
1. Where do we specifically disagree?
2. How important is this issue to me?
3. How important is this relationship?
The answers help me decide on how to proceed.
Thanks, Paul. “Groupthink” Now that’s a great word.
Bringing relationships to the conversation matters to me. Do you want to be right, or do you want to have a relationship? Intelligent adults disagree with each other. Can you make room for difference, or does everyone have to think the same?
Asking questions changes the dynamic in conflict as it is so easy to make declarative statements that shut down communication. A good, open ended question may expose the issue and get at the heart of the conflict.
Thanks, McSteve. We’ve all seen people talking AT each other and we all know that no communication is happening.
When my emotions are hot, I tend not to listen. If I can just eke out a question, it gives me a chance to cool down.
Great recommendations. I think we’re all tired of game playing and posturing. Being real with great empathy seems to be the ticket going forward.
Thanks, Whitfordsa. Yes! A little genuineness goes a long way. Authenticity isn’t simply being myself. It’s having empathy for others.
Thank you for this passage. This is sage advice for sure. As a result of reading this, I will now seek out the person that I care the most about and have conflict with to find a better place where the level of conflict can somehow be reduced.
Thanks, Angelo. I wish you well. It takes skill and humility to reduce levels of conflict.
To #1 is would add “avoid making assumptions about the motives of others… clarify that first.”
Thanks, Kass. That’s wonderful. In a conflict, I know what I think AND I KNOW what you think. That’s part of the problem!
Pingback: Five Blogs – 26 May 2022 – 5blogs
Defining what better looks like! Great post!