Meaningful things in life require collaboration, and with collaboration comes a variety of people. When you have a diverse group of people, there will be different thoughts and opinions… and the perfect formula for conflict.
Conflict is nothing to fear if handled appropriately. As a matter of fact, no conflict is more concerning than disagreements here and there. So how do you use conflict to your advantage, deal with it effectively, and not undermine your position or progress?
Here are three tips to navigate conflict or different opinions.
1. Let them know you are genuinely interested.
It all starts with trust. Those you disagree with need to know you are interested in more than just your opinion being heard. As you try to come to a resolution, remember words not only speak volumes, but so do body language and tone.
2. Seek first to understand, not just to be understood.
When another person feels heard, understood, and cared for, they are more willing to look at a different perspective. Earnestly try to be empathetic to fully understand their point of view.
3. Ask questions.
You better understand someone by asking questions. The biggest key is to ask the right questions in a non-confrontational way. You can ask the tough questions, but your approach can make or break the outcome.
Bonus tip: Always repeat what the other person is saying. This will allow the other person an opportunity to make a correction if you misunderstood or they will know you are listening and relating to their perspective.
If you are a leader, it is vitally important to let your team know you care, but you should always let them share first. You set the tone and you never want to shut someone down because they don’t agree with you. The one exception is if the conversation is relating to transparency or a tough subject matter.
In any conversation, whether there are issues or not, there must be a basic level of respect. Respect will build trust, and you can go to hard places with people you trust, even if you don’t always agree.