Handling Conflict with Confidence

More confidence, less conflict, please

As I coach, I find it’s pretty typical for people to desire more confidence and less conflict. Despite their wishes, the two really can’t be separated. In other words, the experience of handling conflict is a great means of increasing confidence.  Wanting confidence without having to deal with any conflict is like wanting to be tone and fit without exercise.  For this reason, handling conflict is an exercise that increases confidence.

To avoid conflict is to avoid being more confident. -@Karen Zeigler tweet

The following eight tips will help you be more confident when handling conflict.

C – Common goal

Start your conversation to resolve the conflict by focusing on the common purpose of the relationship in a positive way.  Below are two examples:

“Sharon, ultimately, the success of our team lies in achieving our sales goal. As co-leaders, our team can be unstoppable. To ensure the fastest route to success I want to talk with you about an issue that we are currently stuck on.”

“John, there is so much at stake in our upcoming fundraiser. I want to exceed what we raised last year.  I am certain there is a mutual solution, but there is a problem that I can’t seem to get past. Would you be willing to talk it through with me?”

O – Omit emotional triggers

Avoid as much as possible words like never, always, YOU and negative labels. Each of these words can take the conflict from problem resolution to personal attack.

N –  Needs

Regardless of the situation, everyone has needs. People have needs for love, acceptance, and recognition of their efforts.  These unmet needs often trigger fear which is an unseen culprit of conflict. Be sure to consider those needs ahead of time and look for ways to plant seeds of them throughout the conversation.

F – Feelings

Feelings can fuel conflict and often escalate it.  Ensure that emotions are defused, before entering a conflict conversation. Even considering waiting a day to allow emotions to settle. If your personality type is a high feeler, you will want to make sure you are well rested, well fed and not under any undue stress before engaging the conversation.  When possible discuss the situation with a trusted friend that is unbiased, wise and has a personality that is more of a thinker than a feeler.

L – Listen

Really listen. Listen to understand their position. Listen to identify gaps in yours and their knowledge. Make a note of common ground where you both agree. Look for the opportunity to make this conversation a win-win. Personally, I find practicing active listening as the easiest method to keep the focus on the other party and what they are saying.

I – Increase Understanding

Seek to understand where the other individual is coming from before diving into your grievances. Below are two examples:

“Linda, I would like to know more about your views on the Miller account?”

“Jack, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project. Would you mind giving me insights into what you feel are the priorities?”

C – Create a welcoming environment

Be sure to create a mutually welcoming environment during the conflict. Perhaps a conference room that is a mutual territory and more private. Continue the welcoming environment after the conflict is resolved by “welcoming” open communication when the other party is feeling tension or conflict in the relationship.

T – Thankful

Be openly thankful at the beginning and the end of the conversation.  Be sure to not only thank them for their willingness to talk with you but also tell them your appreciation other positive traits that you see in the way they handle themselves, others, or particular circumstances.

Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow

Take a few moments and reflect on conflicts past or present:

  1. Which of the eight tips could you put into practice today to avoid potential conflict and be more confident?
  2. What notes could you make and take with you into a conversation that would help you stay focused on resolving the issue with a positive outcome?
  3. Who can you thank that has handled conflict positively with you?

4 thoughts

  1. P for procrastination. I have found that the longer a difficult conversation is put off, the worse it becomes. The issues not only continue unresolved, the stress and dread of the confrontation can leave the woman leader weaker than had it been handled quickly.
    ” I have suffered a great many catastrophes. Most of them ever happened” pps Mark Twain

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