“We have been working for this project. We come to work on weekdays and even on holidays. And now, this simple request, you are denying it? I’m disappointed!”
I had to take a deep breath to take that in. It doesn’t happen all the time, but at that moment, I was intensely thankful I was so calm and composed. I looked at him and said, “Sir, I am sorry about that. Let’s talk about.”
My friend, conflicts happen at work, in different projects, in the family, in various organizations, and in the community. Conflicts are a part of life. And it is so crucial to be able to address these conflicts. If they are not addressed properly, they might get worse and will dampen and destroy the relationship. But if they are resolved, they will make the relationship better and stronger.
That conversation I shared happened at a meeting we were having with our local counterpart. We were there simply and supposedly to share what is expected in the duration of the project, what we are going to deliver, and what they can do to help. But out of nowhere, this man,spoke up, raised his voice and started presenting his case – discussing things that are even outside the parameters we can tackle.
Again, I was intensely thankful that at that moment, I was so calm and composed.
In resolving conflicts, it helps to understand the reasons why they happen.
Conflicts usually arise when the parties differ in three things:
- When the parties involved differ in the package of information received or understood.
- When the parties involved differ in styles or methodologies.
- When the parties involved differ in perspectives on the situation or problem.
Understanding the causes would help us employ the appropriate resolution strategy. If the other party has a different information or understanding, we can perhaps share the information that we have and how we understand it. If the other party has a different style or methodology, we can possibly consider their approach and compromise on the approach we can take. If the other party has a different perspective, we can strive to understand their point of view – after all, we most likely have the same overall goal.
In taking the steps to resolve conflicts, it is highly important to also practice these three tactical tips:
- Shut up and listen. Resolving conflicts is a communication process and it vastly requires listening much more than speaking.
- Suspend judgment and understand. It would be useless to listen first if you already have a judgment or conclusion. We should defer judgment and understand first the other party’s case.
- Speak up to assert or adapt. After listening and understanding what the other party has, it is time to make a decision and speak up – either you are going to assert your position or to adapt theirs.
In putting to practice what we discussed above, we were able to resolve the conflict we had at that meeting. It took extra time to handle it – with all the discussion and listening – but at least, we were able to deliver what we were meant to deliver, move forward as intended and finish the project as scheduled.
My friend, with these simple steps and reminders in resolving conflicts, it is our hope that we will be able to address these differences and forge better and stronger relationships. We might even have the heart to welcome necessary conflicts. After all, it is in these moments of conflict that we can also hone our character and grow deeper in our relationships.
(Chris Dao-anis, CPA, DTM serves as keynote speaker and trainer on public speaking and leadership. For talks and trainings, email email@example.com or visit www.chrisdaoanis.com. His latest book Living Large in the Little Things is available at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City.)