Conflicts and Compromise

Conflicts happen. The challenge is knowing how to deal with them effectively, knowing when to compromise and when to hold your ground.

I teach how to use behavioral techniques to diffuse conflicts and deal with harassment and retaliation.  I also teach a class on why conflict management doesn’t work when the problem is bullying.  Finally, I also have a course on how to win arguments by not arguing – called – Socratic Jujitsu.  All of these programs are science based.

Let’s assume we are dealing with a conflict that is based on a real disagreement and not with something that is actually irrational and happening because people have implicit biases that are effecting how they are interacting with others.

1)      As long as a disagreement is professional, it can be resolved.  If the disagreement is manifesting as unprofessional behavior, it can’t be. Sniping, name calling, passive aggressive behavior, interrupting, denigrating comments and more – are all unprofessional. If that is happening, what is happening, isn’t just a disagreement and those other behaviors have to be addressed before conflict resolution can occur.

2)      The key to conflict resolution is respect. Both parties must get to a point where they step back and respect that the other person is holding their other opinion for a valid reason and that once we know what that is – we can work through the differences.  Assuming there is an actual disagreement on the best way to move forward, one side can take the initiative to start asking questions so that cooperative problem solving can occur.

When should you give up? That depends. Do you feel like this is mission critical? Or not. If not – then perhaps just lodging your disagreement and then allowing whatever to go forward will be fine. Who knows, you may have been wrong and the other person may have been right. But if you are absolutely convinced this is a mission critical issue and that the project will fail if something isn’t addressed, then fight for it. Just be aware, the best way to do that is to ask questions that introduce doubt into the mind of the person you are disagreeing with.  The goal is to move from conflict to cooperative problem solving.

Want to learn more- check out these online courses:

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