Conflict can be wrenching (pun intended).
When we’re in conflict we tend to do more of whatever’s not working. We can get into an endless cycle of repetition saying the same thing over & over, the ‘he said – she said’ saga. Can you relate?
We’re not exactly wired for conflict resolution
To make matters worse our brains aren’t exactly wired automatically for effective conflict resolution. When we feel threatened, overwhelmed, scared, angry etc. our bodies are focused more on fight, flee or freeze than on staying calm & responding with our poise & dignity intact.
Which leads me to Mariam O., who wrote me about a sticky communication issue.
Thanks for the continuous updates.
At work I sometimes find it hard to talk to my supervisor especially when I feel like what he will say really is unnecessary and could easily have been shared via email. I don’t know whether I lack the patience or what, because in the end I might not even listen to what he is saying, which could be important.
There are no cookie cutter solutions, however …
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think every conflict can be resolved by the same techniques, far from it. However I do think having a few openers that can begin dialogue are a handy thing to have in your hip pocket.
Openers have two parts:
- A well placed statement of the issue,
- A well-framed question
When you put the two together it can do wonders to ease tension. So ditch the wrenches for the openers.
Yes it can sometimes be that easy.
In Mariam’s case that could look like this:
- Statement of the issue: I feel like we may have some differences in what means of communication we prefer using (email, face to face meetings etc).
- Well-framed question: What are your thoughts on that?
Over to you. Find a time this week to practice this technique. How did it go? I’d love to hear.
And stay tuned. In upcoming posts I’ll share a fun tool that demonstrates your relationship with your supervisor, plus I’ll give you some simple, short scripts for understanding differences.