Listen to resolve conflicts

One mouth and two ears

An old expression that means that we should listen more than we talk. When it comes to conflict management or negotiations, it is especially important to achieve a result where everyone gets a bit of what they want and can feel satisfied with the solution.

Don’t fall into the trap of asking for someone to agree

If you find yourself in a conflict with someone, it is easy to seek out others who agree and reinforce your side of the matter, this is called negative empathy. Don’t do that! Instead, ask someone you trust to challenge your claims. Then you get a chance to really think through why you ended up in the conflict and what responsibility you have for it being this way. Together, you can twist and turn the arguments and sort out what is important to move forward to a solution.

See a conflict as a negotiation

Once you land on what’s important to you, it’s easier to put your emotions aside and try to understand the other party. Research has shown that when you make an effort to understand the other party, only then can you arrive at a good solution. By being calm and factual, listening and asking, you then have an opportunity to tell what is important to you. And when you bring all these things together you can start helping each other to find a solution. The beauty is that it works just as well in a workplace as it does in a private situation.

Source: Stanford Graduate School of Business

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