“It’s not worth the bother”. “It’s easier to stay quiet.” “I don’t want the hassle”.
These are some of the reasons that people give for not engaging in conflict. Possibly the most important one though is that conflict is inherently seen as something negative or bad.
If we reframe conflict as an opportunity to open up alternative ideas. Or view it as a way to improve decision making, it becomes less about us and more about the topic that we’re discussing.
How ‘nice people’ can do conflict
Dr Travis Bradberry has six great ideas on how ‘nice people’ can do conflict. He suggests:
- Consider the repercussions of staying silent.
- Say “and” instead of ‘but”.
- Use hypotheticals.
- Don’t speak in absolutes.
- Ask good questions until you get to the heart of the matter.
- Offers solutions.
What I love about an approach like Dr Bradberry has suggested is that if you know that conflict isn’t really your thing – you can try some of these out. You can practise. Almost always that will be better than remaining passively silent or losing it to aggression.
No one needs to know you’re practising. Just think ahead of when you’re likely to be a conflict situation (a difficult meeting for example), and prepare what you might say instead of nothing. Then give it a go. Particularly if you’re asking great questions, you are almost certainly going to move the conversation and the situation forward rather.
- Are you avoiding conflict?
- Do you fall on the passive or the aggressive side of the spectrum?
- What is the cost of avoiding conflict?
- Which of Bradberry’s strategies could you try?
- If you’re resistant to trying new approaches, can you work out why? What are you scared of?
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See you tomorrow (yes a month of posting daily!)