My husband and I have recently dealt with some issues in one of our businesses. There were some personal conflicts within the partnership and our value in the resolution of the problem, was to act as Switzerland.
Whether you are helping to mediate a situation between other people or whether you are attempting to mediate your own actions, stepping forward with strategy and intention is always wise.
Just for the heck of it, I have compiled a list of 6 things I think are extremely effect for when conflict exists.
1. Strive to have the lowest heart-rate in the room. It isn’t always easy, but it will always help you to see things with more clarity.
2. Listen carefully to what is being said. Be curious instead of judgemental. Seek to discover not only what a person is saying, but also how they are saying it. The trick is to listen without allowing your brain to go to what YOU want to say in response. I take notes whenever I can so I can come back to something if I think it is still valid after the fact.
3. If you are wondering why someone is reacting the way they are, be aware of their language.
As an example — If someone uses the phrase, ‘this is a disaster’ when describing their circumstance, how do you think they will feel? What emotion would that thought cause? Helplessness? Victimized?
What would a person do if they felt helpless or like a victim? Bury their head in the sand? Regretfully accept their fate? This kind of analysis will give you clues and insight. There is so much power in our words!
4. Be clear on the end game. Establish it up front and have it as a regular reminder as it helps to keep things on point.
Ask the question – does this move us closer or further away from our goal?
5. Even when it is challenging, embrace the assumption that there was no harm intended. Make space for people’s humanness. We all make mistakes and things don’t always turn out or come across the way we intended. While it is easy to vilify the actions of one side or the other, when you present the question – ‘what else could be going on here’ you are able to soften the edges. And softer edges create softer landings for people when you are trying to create understanding and empathy.
6. Try to introduce the idea that nothing has gone wrong. Having the ability to pause and step back for even a moment can help to re-frame the conflict. It invites us to look at what we are dealing with as an opportunity to usher in learning or growth or a change for the better. Even when we might not be able to see the proof of it yet.
I have always labeled myself as ‘conflict-avoidant’ but useful tools and strategy can be game changers.