One area I continually feel like a failure in is conflict management and resolution.
I didn’t grow up with good examples. My family was a fight to the death kind of family. If there was a problem it was an immediate war, which has made me avoid conflict in business.
As I’ve grown, those lessons (or lack thereof) have bubbled to the surface and, honestly, I’m really self-conscious about it.
I’m getting better each day and with every effort. I learn from books, and articles, and real-life conversations. It’s going to be a learned skill for me, if I can master it.
My problem is I want to be liked and conflict to me ends in, “yea, i’ve decided I hate you.” I am realizing that I can’t control others feelings about me so I just have to do my best and let the rest be.
In an article I recently read, the author was talking about the one word to eliminate from your business vocabulary because it sparks defense on the part of the other party.
That word is, “why.”
If you have to have a confrontation with someone that could end up in a conflict or you have to resolve a conflict that has already reared it’s ugly head, using the word ‘why’ puts the other person on the defense. It implies that an entire explanation for an action is needed.
I think it also implies that they were absolutely at fault, when clearly they have their own side of the story.
Next time, instead of asking someone “why would you say that?” or “why would you do that?” try asking some what or how questions. The other party will feel less defensive.
“What happened that brought you to that conclusion?” or “how did your feelings create that action?” or “how did you perceive the situation?” or “what led to actions?”
These are safer questions to help get you to a resolution rather than a bigger problem that ends in severed relationship.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly have had enough of those in business and would be happy to avoid any more.