Conflict at Work 2
So, you’ve decided what you want and are working towards making that happen – starting a conversation knowing what your intention is. So, what comes next?
Hone your listening skills.
There’s a big difference from hearing someone and actively listening to what they are saying. We all have our own view of the world and we all experience it in different ways. Our perception – or the map we have of our world – isn’t right or wrong compared to someone else’s. It is simply different.
By being open to what the other person is saying you may find (as I often have), that people are saying the same thing. People use different words and different sensory language (do you “see,” “hear” or “feel” things?). Think about the last time you enjoyed yourself at concert or the theatre. Can you picture the event? Still hear the sounds? Or do you get a great feeling as you recall it?
I remember a conversation between two people when one was trying to describe a new way of working to the other. Not quite sure how this would work one person said “this just doesn’t feel right.” The other person said “well, if you picture yourself doing it this way…” The conversation went round in circles. Even explaining to the visual person that they had to use “feeling” language didn’t help. He couldn’t understand why the other person could not share his vision.
Being open to what the other person has to say helps to make them feel valued and they are more likely to listen to you. Most people want a successful outcome and you may learn that you can achieve what you want by another means.
Winners and Losers
Whenever we hear about conflict, we make the assumption that in order to resolve it there must be a winner and a loser. It is often this block that stops or prevents a successful resolution from being reached.
Working relationships are unlikely to be truly productive when one person feels defeated by another. The relationship will remain tarnished for a long time, resulting in less motivation or actively seeking a new job, taking valuable experience and skills elsewhere.
Whenever you have to negotiate with someone, look for the “win-win” situation. Another word for compromise is co-operation. It does not mean making do with second best. All parties in a disagreement can maintain their sense of esteem when they feel they have gained something rather than given in during a disagreement.
Recently I was annoyed that my bank was going to make charges on an account that I used very little. The charges took the account into the red and further charges were going to be made for being overdrawn. As my account was now overdrawn, a small payment was declined, adding further charges. I phoned the bank feeling aggrieved about this. The charges were related to paying a standing order that had previously been cancelled. The bank said they had never received the cancellation and said that I would have to pay £40. My frustration was that, if the standing order cancellation had been processed, no charges would have been made for going into the red and sufficient money would have been there to pay the small payment that was declined. Ok, getting complicated. However, in the end we agreed to half the charges to £20. It was a win-win situation.
Seek ways of compromising. Give something in order to get what you want. I didn’t want to pay £40 in charges. Paying £20, although annoying, was far less damaging to my pocket. And the bank maintained their charging policy while showing that they can also give a little.
Next time we will look at other people’s point of view, what you can and can’t control as well as stopping disagreements getting too personal