Conflict and difficult discussions are part of everyday life. We want to get our own way – but we don’t want to have to fight in order to achieve it. And when the opponent is someone senior or who has influence over your role at work – how can you avoid destructive conflict, but still get your point across, without “giving in”?
Here are some suggestions:
Don’t be nice – be real. Being “nice”, but inwardly feeling that you’ve lost, is just an opportunity to opt out of a difficult discussion. Opt in and state your case clearly. Look at what is needed in order to achieve either your, or the company’s, goal – and follow that path.
Make clear requests, and lose the emotion. Presenting your request objectively will get you further particularly when you feel the other person may not support your point of view.
Take into account that you might be in the wrong. If you begin to have this realization during the discussion, step back and give yourself some time to adjust to a new reality, and let the other person know that you need some time to consider their point of view.
Consider your body language. Understand that the manner in which you present information will mean as much to the person receiving it, as the content.
When facing any conflict – approach it one step at a time.
Understanding where the other person is coming from, even when you don’t agree with it, will give you the opportunity to tailor your approach accordingly. And if all else fails, agree to disagree and then start from a fresh board, with something you can agree on. That way, there’ll be a positive relationship to build on for future discussions!
Don’t avoid conflict – face it in such a way that you come out feeling good about the way you handled it. Then, no matter what the outcome, you will feel like a winner.