Conflict is inevitable. Use these 3 steps to navigate your way through your next conflict.
Say to yourself "It's okay to disagree."
First off, let us not fear conflict, but welcome it. Conflict is when we grow, when we learn. I'm not saying to create it. I'm not saying to encourage it. But when it does arise, don't shy away. Do not avoid conflict. Avoidance will only leave issues unaddressed. Problems not faced will only grow in magnitude. See every conflict as an opportunity to build a relationship, learn from someone, and to grow professionally.
Keep it professional and factual.
Often times we know our co-workers personally. Avoid the urge to combine personal frustrations with business topics. Keep it facts and evidence based. Keep it on topic. Be a good listener. Use a calm tone. If possible, keep it short and sweet. Organize your main points. Step away for 24 hours if you are emotional or mad. Most importantly, determine in writing what you hope to achieve before engaging the other party. Be results focused and understand there is no winning, only a resolution that more than likely involves a compromise and both parties admitting some fault in some area.
Clear the air.
Often times our best laid plans fail. If the conflict does escalate, or leave either party upset, be quick to "clear the air". Be quick to offer a sincere apology. Grab lunch, get an early cup of coffee, or just take a long walk with the person. Maintaining solid personal relationships in business is far more important to your long term success than winning some short term battle. The odds are you will need that person's help at some point soon in your career. Better to have an ally than an adversary.
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