Conflict…Yikes!

How would you handle this situation….

You and a business colleague agreed to work together for your mutual benefit. Your work and his work complimented each other and you both believed that you could help your clients and yourselves by cross referring some business.

It is now 4 months after your agreement and you’ve referred three clients to this fellow that has resulted in $50,000 worth of business for them. But to date, your “colleague” has not referred a single person to you.

You have a meeting this coming week and you want to have a further discussion about the arrangement…oh by the way…you are really pissed!

This is the discussion several of my colleagues and I had at our regular meeting with Alan Weiss, who is one of the world’s top management consultants.

We decided to role play the upcoming meeting and in discussing how we all deal with conflict, we all agreed that it is one of the most difficult skills to develop. While it may be easy to get angry or frustrated, being effective in dealing with conflict is much more challenging. After a couple of run throughs, here are four tips to improving your conflict management skills:

  • Know what you want to get out of the meeting before you go in. You should identify a minimum and maximum in terms of outcomes.
  • Keep you emotions in check and stick to the facts.  While in trying to persuade someone to your side, logic makes you think but emotions make you act, in conflict, emotions heighten the intensity while logic helps reach an agreement.
  • Focus on the moment. Look the person in the eye and don’t allow yourself to be distracted or taken off center. The key is to remain in the present.
  • Don’t try to take care of the other person. Now that you know what you want, stick to your ideals.
  • Reframe the conflict situation as something that can actually be fun and a great learning experience. It’s a bit like being a gladiator in the ring, but no one gets killed.

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