Magazine article Business Credit

Communicating through Conflict

Magazine article Business Credit

Communicating through Conflict

Article excerpt

We can't banish conflict from our lives, but we can communicate more effectively through it. It's a topic that can fill volumes, but you can get a handle on it by using these five tips:

1. Distinguish Between True and False Conflicts

Before you can think about how to communicate through a conflict, decide whether you need to communicate at all. Not all conflicts need to be resolved. Before you do or say anything, ask yourself, "Is this a true conflict or a false conflict?" A true conflict has to be resolved. If not resolved, it will get bigger and result in a negative consequence.

You and your colleague must write a grant proposal. There is conflict about how to write the proposal and how to allocate your time to it. As a result, there is a risk that the proposal will not be the best it can be and might not be completed on time. There is risk, therefore, that your organization will not receive this much-needed grant. This is a true conflict.

False conflicts are differences that don't have to be resolved. You and your colleague disagree about how smart your boss is. That does not have to be resolved for the two of you to be able to work, share a break or attend meetings together.

Choose your battles. Let the false conflicts go. Refuse to engage in unnecessary arguments and debates. If you get known as someone who always argues everything, you will lose your credibility with the people around you and they will no longer want to listen to anything you say, even when what you have to say is important.

2. Confrontation Is Not a Dirty Word

We struggle with confrontation primarily because we confuse it with fighting, anger and unpleasantness. Confrontation comes from Latin, meaning, "to face." Properly defined, to "confront" means to face an issue instead of avoiding it. We often avoid conflicts that should be confronted, and the longer we wait, the harder it is to resolve them.

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3. Get Objectivity

Try to get objectivity back before you communicate. There are two parts of any conflict: the issue and the persons attached to the issue. Sometimes, when conflict has gone on for a while without being confronted, we start liking the other person less and less, losing our objectivity. Once we can no longer be objective about the person attached to the issue, it is difficult to effectively communicate through that issue. …

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