Certified professional coach Mike Cameron outlines a helpful approach to difficult conversations and conflict resolution.
According to famed management consultant, educator and author Peter F. Drucker, “trust is congruence between what you say and what you do”.
Given the practical application of emotional intelligence – through effective communication, a well-honed intrapersonal skillset, interpersonal awareness and a willingness to resolve potential issues of conflict –congruent people tend to evoke more trust from others, since they don’t show a side different from the one that they are currently feeling.
Definition of conflict
Conflict is best defined as the state in a relationship or interaction where two or more people are attempting to have differing needs met in a way that creates discomfort and results in negative reactions.
It can also be called a process where one person is perceived as trying to prevent another from reaching their goals.
Possible causes of conflict:
• Misunderstanding the issue(s) involved
• Different perceptions of the importance of the issue(s) to the other person
• Poor communication skills
• Lack of training
• Clashes of personality
• Differences in values; goals, wants, needs, expectations; emotional, state of mind, personal issues, general health; role or job pressure, competition for resources; levels of authority policies and procedures
How to resolve potential conflict in a difficult situation:
• Listen and be open-minded
• Empathise and apologise
• Respond and show understanding
• Decide on action moving forward
• Take agreed action
• Follow-up on each action ASAP
• Thank the other person for their response
Effective body language techniques
Here is a memory aid that can be applied to assist in the process – and help to avoid stress.
P: POSITION – Do not block yourself in
A: ATTITUDE – Display a positive and helpful approach
L: LOOK and LISTEN – Keep normal eye contact and body language
M: MAKE SPACE – Stay a comfortable distance apart
S: STANCE – Keep your shoulders relaxed and turn slightly to the side
Finally, the conflict resolution process does not automatically offer you the option to vent your spleen with regard to the other person’s views or insensitivity – or your personal interpretation of what had been expressed.
However, it does gives you the opportunity to apply the competencies associated with effective communication and emotional intelligence, while staying true to your feelings and values.
In every interaction there are three levels that influence its effect and meaning:
What – the content, ie the words I say
How – the process, ie how I say it (the non-verbal communication)
Why – the intention, ie the meaning (what am I trying to accomplish with this interaction?)
“Integrity is congruence between what you know, what you profess, and what you do.” – Nathaniel Branden
This column is a slightly edited extract from Mike Cameron’s book, ‘The Emerging Leader: 7 core characteristics of effective leadership’.
This feature appeared in the May issue of Quarry.