By Daniel Robin
If you notice yourself getting dug in or angry in the face of differing views, ask for a time out and step out of the content for a moment and notice if you are presently moving toward your true goal. If not, or if the situation is just getting too uncomfortable, check to see which of the seven strategies shown below would be most helpful in turning your conflict into collaboration.
1. Define what the conflict is about. Studies on spousal disputes showed that about 75% of the time, partners are fighting about different issues. Ask the other person "What’s the issue?" then "What’s your concern here?" or "What do you feel we are fighting about?" Eventually ask "What do you want to accomplish?" and "How can we work this out?"
2. It’s not you versus me; it’s you and me versus the problem. The problem is the problem. It’s stupid to try to defeat the other side, because after losing, the first thing the other side thinks is I need a rematch (and I’ll come back with more firepower so I can win this time). If we win at the other person’s expense, we also pay a price in the long run. We have a world of rematches of rematches of rematches. Don’t bring your adversaries to their knees, bring them to the table.
3. Identify your shared concerns against your one shared separation. Deal with the conflict from where the relationship is strongest (where you agree), not weakest. It’s easier and thus more likely to be effective if you move from areas of agreement to areas of disagreement, than the other way around. Find common ground by meeting the other person where they are. Acknowledge their viewpoint. Stand on this common ground as a stronger platform from which to work out respective differences.
4. Sort out interpretations from facts. Never ask people who have been in a fight what happened. You’ll get their interpretation, their opinion, their version of what occurred. Instead ask, "What did you do or... [continues]
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