How do you deal with conflict?
I recently had a difficult conversation with a friend that didn’t go exactly as I would have liked. I hate conflict and try to avoid it as much as possible. This means that when confronted with potential conflict my first instinct is to diffuse the situation as quickly as I can. This often involves me backing down and placating the other person in order to keep the peace and not say anything that could upset them further.
So now my friend feels a great deal better – she has got what she needed to off her chest and we cleared the air, which is great! However, in hindsight, I feel like I could have handled the conversation better. My immediate response was to apologise and take a lot of the blame even though there was fault on both sides. I am now left feeling slightly frustrated. Clearly dealing with difficult conversations is something I need to work on.
Difficult conversations are inevitable – in personal and professional life. It’s important to be able to navigate them without letting emotions and fear get the better of you. Only by approaching conflict rationally can it be resolved and everybody can move on.
The best advice I have received is “Everybody has a responsibility for how they receive feedback.” It’s true – you cannot always worry about upsetting people if you have something important to say. As long as it comes from a constructive place and is delivered in a sensitive manner, it is the recipient’s responsibility to make sure they don’t let their emotions get the better of them.
What’s the best advice you have received for dealing with conflict?