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How to communicate in conflict resolution

My client Ali is trying to resolve a conflict with her peer.

But Ali is struggling to come to a consensus and find a suitable resolution with this person.

You see, Ali tends to be soft-spoken.
Her approach to resolving conflict is thoughtful and robust.
She likes to take time to find the root cause of an issue, analyze the facts and then create an appropriate action plan.

Ali tried this approach with her peer, but it did not work.
She felt frustrated by the lack of consensus and felt like her peer was not being collaborative.

While listening to Ali describe this situation, I had an insight. 

Ali’s approach to problem-solving is very different than the way her peer likes to resolve issues. 

Ali’s brain is wired to be analytical.
Her peer, on the other hand, is straightforward when sharing his opinions and is very willing to have an objective debate about an issue. 

In fact, analyzing issues causes him to lose interest in the conversation and check out.

Can you see the problem here?

The fact is that neither approach is good or bad, right or wrong. They are just different. 

As a leader, it’s very important that you are aware of different conflict management styles and are able to navigate them effectively.

After discussing the situation with Ali, we agreed that Ali needs to take a different approach to be successful. 

She realized that she needed to be more assertive with this person to match his style.
Instead of staying stuck in analysis paralysis, Ali decided that she needed to be very straightforward.

Ali nervously booked a meeting with her peer.
She laid out the issue and her solution in a very decisive way.
To her surprise, after just five minutes, the issue was resolved.

I love this story.

It reminds us that resolving conflict requires some flexibility.

Don’t assume that someone is being difficult because they are wired to approach conflict differently than you are.
Rather, pause and reflect on their behaviour.

Then you can change or adjust your approach accordingly. 

After all, if your goal is to resolve the conflict, then use an approach that will resonate most with the other person.

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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