The key principle to remember during a conflict is that conflicts always happen in a shared context. Different people bring different perspectives and the conflict is related to those perspectives/opinions. This shared context could be looked as an opportunity for potential collaboration. So not opposing each other but putting two people together to solve a problem. The goal is for A and B to agree on the best way to do X.
Goals to achieve resolution
1. Listen and understand
The first goal is to understand how they think and feel about the issue.
- Be quiet and pay attention
- Offer encouragement, use gestures, smile depending on the context
- Stay with them without interrupting
- When they complete an idea, summarise what they said even if you got what they said. Ask “Did I get it right?” to show they have control
- Validate their reasoning/feeling and thoughts
- Simply acknowledge “that makes sense" Or “this is not what I was thinking but that makes sense".
2. Speak and explain
Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. - Stephen Covey
The second goal is to explain how you think and why you feel the way you feel so they can understand where you are coming from.
- Speak in a way you are understood
- "This is my view. This is why. Here’s my proposal"
The third goal is to negotiate on the underlying concerns instead of negotiating on what people have said.
- Attempt to find a win-win solution
- Great negotiators find a way to give the other what they really want, not necessarily what they ask.
- When someone is unreasonable, ask them why? “Do you disagree because it’s not a good idea or because you don’t want to do it even if it is a good idea" It’s hard to be unreasonable.
- Instead of jumping to conclusion ask “why is that important to you?"
- Discuss a way to come together. “Is there a way we can come together for mutual benefit. Can we find an integration of yours and my perspective that will lead us to a solution"
The fourth goal is to make a commitment together. Agreements are worthless without commitment. Move from agreement to commitment.
- Make a request. “So we commit to doing X on Thursday afternoon. Are you ok with that”?
- Make a commitment on who is going to do what and by when. “If we agree, let’s commit and get it done"
- "I'll try" doesn’t work, commitment is specific.
When negotiation fails try to find the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA).
- What’s the best you can do without the cooperation of this person?
- What would you do if you can’t agree?