Here are some tips on resolving conflict for those of us that don’t have a 6
foot neck that weighs 500 pounds:

Conflict Resolution Conversation Starters

All effective conflict resolution begins with this concession that there is conflict and then moves to an assessment of the true source. Without that second step conflict resolution can take place that doesn’t really resolve the underlying problem.  Surface issues are cleaned up—but beneath the sewer stinketh!  But the third step in this process is a simple matter of conversations.  Having a conversation with the person you are in conflict with is the key.  These conversations do not happen enough.  Often times we know we should talk—but we don’t know how to bring it up.  The conflict is the elephant in the room no one points to.  So here are some helpful phrases to “get the conversation started” on the conflict.  Once it’s started half the battle is over:

  • “Are we okay with each other?” – This is a great way to start the conversation because it resolves smaller conflicts before they fester.
  • “I think I might have gone too far in what I said…” – This partial apology helps you admit you may have said something that caused conflict.  It builds a bridge.
  • “I think we need to go the final 10% with you on this.” – This is a way to admit that there are deeper issues (the sewer) beneath that need to be addressed.
  • “You said something I need you to help me understand better.” – Instead of attacking what they said, you enlist them to help you understand them.
  • “I don’t know if I said things right—could I clarify what I meant?” – Again a helpful phrase to clarify on your end.  You’re offering your help in their understanding of you.
  • “Could we get 10 minutes to talk about something today?” – By pseudo-scheduling the conversation it is more likely to take place.
  • “I don’t think you meant it this way, but I heard you say…” – This helps them to see your interpretation and feelings related to what they’ve said.
  • “I trust your judgment, but you did something that I was having some trouble with.” – Questioning behavior rather than motives.
  • “You probably didn’t realize it at all, but when you did/said _________ it hurt.” – It’s important to not assume they meant to hurt you, but that it indeed did hurt.
  • “Is there something I’m doing that is causing a little division between us?” – Sometimes we sense this but don’t know what it’s coming from.  This can unearth it.

Using these and other conflict resolution conversation starters can get the ball rolling in managing conflict rather than allowing it to turn into full-scale combat. Of course, you could always do things like the giraffes do, but I suggest these conversation starters instead.

Also See: Where Two or More



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