This post was originally published in October of 2015.
Communicating through conflict doesn’t have to be that hard. It can be… but it doesn’t have to be.
And the key is your mindset during the conflict. What are you thinking about when communicating with the person you are in conflict with?
Are you thinking about winning the debate, regardless of what comes later?
Are you thinking about trying to get away from it as soon as possible, and are OK with giving in just to end it?
Or are you thinking about creating the best possible outcome while preserving some sort of relationship afterwards?
The key to communicating through conflict is not push hard and win as often as possible. If you take that route, you will win some, you will lose some, But even when you win, it will be a Pyrrhic victory. People will resent you, and in the long run you lose.
And the key to communicating through conflict is not to simply give in and get away. You will regret it later, build up some deep-down resentment towards the other person (and yourself), and no one will be happy.
No… the key to communicating through conflict is to have faith in your position, but at the same time respect the other position. And when you have the other person on the defensive, give them an escape route. Always, always give an escape route. The more you let people maintain some “face,” the more often you will end your conflict with self-respect intact, on both sides.
Treat people with respect, stand politely firm if you believe in what you say, but always give people a chance to save face.
It really isn’t that hard.
Have a great day.