Where two or more are gathered, there will be conflict. Politics, religion, taxes, policy, immigration, climate change, the environment, you name it, there are and forever will be opposing views. Often, those who hold opposing views may be in your church, business, home, or bed!
Americans have broadcast to the world that we are at an all-time low in finding healthy and profitable ways to process contrasting points of view. We are more likely to vilify or demonize those who disagree with us. We demonstrate this by posting comments like, “You have to be a moron to support that candidate.” Or “Anyone in his right mind can see how idiotic and downright stupid it is to hold that particular view.”
But even to a lesser degree, we have conflict with those who do not organize like we do, drive like we do, or work the way we do. And that is bound to cause office upset. So how does one respond to the inevitable name-calling, bullying, and denigration that is commonplace in America?
Consider this example: Jim, a mid-level supervisor, walks into a staff meeting and says to his peer for all to hear, “I don’t know what you are thinking. But you have to be out of your mind to think for one minute I would agree with your remote-working policy.”
Most of us would understand if the peer fired an equally volatile bullet, trading insult for insult. But he did not. He was resolute in, and committed to, the best outcome. So, he followed tried conflict resolution protocols:
- Acknowledge the person’s emotions. “It appears you are very upset.” “Tell me more.”
- Start with the possibility that you might be responsible for the upset.
- Apologize for the part you played (“Jim, I’m sorry I am at cause for your upset”).
- Ask two important questions:
- Can you help me understand what I missed or how I disappointed you? How did I mis-hear, mis-speak, mis-understand?
- What are you hoping to produce in me as a result of your comments?
- Do not, do not, do not respond in the moment. Rather, commit to hearing what Jim has to say and take it under advisement, with a commitment to revisit the conversation.
Randall E. Davey, CAP® is a financial advisor with Guide Advisors, Inc. In certain circumstances, he may offer insurance as a sole proprietor or through Guide Advisors, Inc. He resides with his wife, Bonnie in Mesa, Arizona. Randall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 425.478.5668.
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