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6 Keys for Handling Conflict  Part 1: Find Common Ground

Have you ever walked into a conversation with a plan in mind to talk about an issue and before you knew it the plan blew up in your face? In your head you rehearsed how the conversation would go, but it didn’t play out the way you were hoping for and the result was messy and not what you hoped for. Do you relate? Sometimes these outcomes cause people to avoid these kinds of conversations at all costs in the future. But is that really the answer? Aren’t we missing something if we never get honest and work through our issues with those we care about or work with, like a deeper understanding of each other? Or a more productive work environment?

I’d like to offer some insight as to what goes wrong in these conversations, and how we can change our approach to help avoid the common mistakes we experience.

What conflict looks like:

Conflict starts when there is an issue that brings our differences to the surface. Often what results is both sides simply trying harder and harder to make their point or build their case. This may include raising voices to try and ‘make’ the other person hear us. The problem is, as this picture portrays, the more we focus on proving our own perspective, the higher up our pride mountain we go and the farther apart we actually become, even straying from the issue itself. So, what’s the solution? How can we avoid this outcome?

Common Ground

The first key to any positive conflict resolution is to make it a goal to find common ground. Consider it home plate - it’s where disagreements are truly won! Here are some questions to help you apply this principle when conflict occurs:

  1. What do we both want that is the same? (e.g. a good relationship; a good work environment; to achieve a specific goal)

  2. How can I communicate that our relationship is a top priority as we deal with the issue?

  3. What part of this issue do we agree upon?

  4. Am I really listening to hear the issue from their perspective? (Remember, this is the greatest gift that you can give another person - H.E.A.R.)

Within this series we will explain the following principles for handling conflict:

  1. Common Ground is your Home Plate (today’s motivational moment)

  2. Safety is Your Right

  3. Empathy is like a Superpower

  4. Intent is Key

  5. Understanding is Golden

  6. Thought habits can be the biggest obstacle

Looking to improve your communication and conflict resolution skills with a loved one? Why not invite them on the journey through this series with you, and talk about what you are learning? The truth is, we all have room to grow.

The information on this email/blog is intended for general education purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.

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