Few of us enjoy conflict. But instead of hiding from it, consider how you can manage it more effectively.
Max Lucade once said, “Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.” Hopefully we can all avoid charging at team members with battle axes or light sabers; however it’s certainly tempting when team members derail a solution with negative phrases.
“We already tried that before and it didn’t work. That would take too much time. Why bother? It won’t make any difference anyway.”
The next time you hear those phrases and you feel your blood vessels constrict, remain calm and retrace your steps. You may have skipped too quickly from problem to solution. It seems like a normal progression, but we often forget to understand everyone’s needs and interests first.
Here is how you can identify the needs and interests of your team. Ask what each person wants from the situation. Ask what is important to them. And do not be shy to challenge each person to discuss their part in keeping the problem going. This is foundational work for finding a solution. Without it you may witness what you’ve seen many times in the past where groups fight back and forth about the smallest details. This occurs because the groups failed to address needs and interests before moving to a workable solution, and when people do not feel their needs are addressed they will argue about the solution, even though they may agree with it.
If you want to prevent conflict from becoming combat, modify your approach to finding solutions. Explore needs and interests first. You will not only build stronger teams, but you will save yourself a lot of stress in the process.
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