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.