As an expert communicator, many of my friends come to me seeking advice. One of the most common subjects they ask about is how to bring up potentially touchy subjects, because let’s be honest—nobody likes a rock hard confrontation.
Conflict management is tricky because as much as we don’t want to approach a potential conflict of thoughts and ideas, clearing the air can bring mutual understanding and awareness.
Here's the magic behind dealing with conflicts in a professional and productive manner.
The most important piece in the puzzle of conflict management is to be a master at listening. Attentive listening is critical to communication and shows interest in the conversation while connecting you to your emotions. Listening allows you to step back and analyze a situation or conversation and process the information while abstaining from potential emotional outbursts.
Since emotions can stew at the drop of a misworded sentence, it is important to stay calm and positive. Approach the conversation with the understanding that all parties involved want the best possible outcome and it is up to you to help make that happen.
After you have listened to your peer(s) it's time to deliver a response in a straightforward and sincere manner. Don’t get lost in details or semantics, focus at the key nuggets of the issue at hand, and don’t dwell on the past. Bringing up old grudges won’t solve anything, it will just make the situation worse.
I'm a firm believer in a genuine apology. Even if you haven’t necessarily done anything wrong, apologizing for any miscommunication demonstrates further awareness and emotional recognition while building stronger relationships.
I hope you are able to take a piece of this advice with you to make the conflict management process painless!