Monday, 6 November 2017

Tricky Confrontational Conversations

How do you deal with these tricky confrontational conversations? Especially as invariably the people we are talking about are important to your business or your life. These conversations are especially tough when you are the sort of person who struggles to deal with conflict.

However, there is a situation that you are concerned about and you know that you have to do something to resolve the issue. Most likely this is playing heavily on your mind and it could even be interfering with your sleep as you play multiple ways of dealing with the issue and they all end badly. 

So lets just look at a few ideas to help you. The first video (a punt for business but ....) provides a simple definition of conflict and the idea that people need to state right up front what they require from others.  

This next video is an interview with an entrepreneur and his advice is:-

  • Don't take things personally
  • Look at the issue through the 'lens' of for the greater good of the organisation
  • Don't let things linger, sort out your differences sooner rather than later
  • Don't presuppose what they other person is thinking, just ask and clarify things together

This video presents a process that you can use to resolve your conflict.

When you are in a conflict situation, in the heat of the moment it can sometimes be difficult to remember what to do. There are a number of acronyms that may help you to remember.  (Source; JamBerry)

The first is:

Confront the behaviour

Understand each other's position

Define the problem

Search for a solution

Confront the behaviour

Concentrate on the behaviour not the person. Ask then to modify their behaviour so that you can talk about the issue.
I feel uncomfortable when you say xxx. Please can we discuss this calmly so that we can get to the problem.
Understand each other's position

Take the time to understand the other's position. Is it a real issue, or is it based on misunderstanding? Have you got all of the information, or only part of the story? Respect their position and ask them to respect yours.
Please tell me slowly what you think the issue is. Please then listen to my reply.
Define the problem

Get into the detail, but try not to react by becoming defensive, sulking, aggressive or other negative behaviour. Repeat back to the other party, your understanding of their side of the story. Stay in adult.
I understand that you feel ..., and that you have an issue with ..., and that the reason behind this is ... Is this correct?
My position is ...
Search for a solution

This involves cooperation. Search for a win-win solution wherever possible. The best solution is one where each party feels that they have gained at least part of their point if not all.
I suggest that I will agree to ... if you are happy to give me ... This way we both gain something positive.

Get an agreement - even if it is an agreement to differ.Make sure any agreement is stated clearly and unambiguously. If necessary, write it down.
In these (...) circumstances, I agree to ... and you agree to ... If things substantially change then we will review this agreement.

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