We all have conflict in our lives……and yet, I am amazed by the fact that people seem to be
content and accept it, or “it’s not that bad,” or even to pretend like “it doesn’t happen to them.” Actually conflict can be healthy, but it depends on how we handle it. The question we must ask is “Do I care enough to confront the right way?” I learned many lessons from John Maxwell’s book, Winning with People. And this is called the Confrontation Principle.
Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with conflict…..most of us do it the wrong way. I am a long way from being perfect. My belief is that individually, we think we have the right answer, so we dig in our heels to get our way. Or we are the passive aggressive type, letting them have their way, knowing we will get even in other ways. These are unhealthy approaches. Conflict is like cancer: early detection increases the possibility of a healthy outcome.
The right way is in caring for people and that should precede confronting people. Create a safe environment that will facilitate open dialogue. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Here are some additional guidelines for healthy confrontation:
Confront the person only if you care for that person. (It is rare to confront someone you don’t care about; and depending on the situation, it may be considered road rage.)
Meet together ASAP. (Do not avoid it, hoping it will go away. Ignorance is bliss; and yet ignorance is also a sign of acceptance. Anytime you let conflict go - it almost always gets worse.)
First seek understanding, not necessarily agreement. (A significant hindrance to positive conflict resolution is having too many preconceived notions going into the confrontation. There’s a saying that the person who gives an opinion before he understands is human, but the person who gives a judgment before he understands is a fool.)
Outline the issue. (Describe the perceptions. Tell how this makes you feel. Explain why this is important to you.)
Encourage a response. (Never confront someone without letting them respond. If you truly care about people, you will want to listen.)
Agree to an Action Plan. (Most people hate confrontation, but they love resolution.)
This subject can be extremely difficult for couples; and a third party that is trained as a non-judgemental coach may be able to help clarify the facts and the stories. Let me know if you have questions.
Or click for a complimentaryDiscovery Session.