At one time, I thought I taught conflict resolution. Over time, I have come to realize that I don't really teach conflict resolution as much as I teach conflict confidence.
To resolve a conflict, you need the other person's cooperation. Since you cannot demand or force cooperation, you have no control over how the other person will respond to your efforts. As a result, you cannot single-handedly resolve a conflict. You can, however, learn communication, influence, and conflict resolution skills so that you can confidently engage in a conflict conversation with the hopes of leading to a successful outcome.
As I work with clients and help people work through conflicts, I see lack of confidence as a major impediment to successful conflict resolution. In fact, I see it as a major driver leading people to communicate either too passively or too aggressively. Depending on your natural behavior style, lack of confidence might cause you to go either direction. Assertive communication strategies call for you to respond confidently and calmly in tense situations to preserve relationships and to resolve conflicts.
People who lack conflict confidence tend to either retreat or attack when the pressure hits, and those approaches lead to:
- Distractions that take the focus off of work that needs to get done
- High levels of stress and anxiety
- Lost time as people avoid each other or delay conversations
- Damaged relationships
- Reduced esteem for the other party
- Lack of respect for different viewpoints
- Distrust of motives and intentions
People with conflict confidence, though, realize that conflict resolution usually lies on the other side of a successful conflict conversation between two people with different viewpoints. They seldom see conflict as a battle between right and wrong. They are able to confidently plan for and engage in the dialogue without attacking the other person or retreating prematurely. As a result, people with conflict confidence….
- Get more done
- Feel less stress
- Save time
- Have better relationships
- Are more admired
- Gain more respect
- Build deeper trust
As you continue to learn and grow as a leader, I encourage you to develop true conflict confidence so that you can become a conflict rock star.