• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Restore peace with the right words

Get PDF file

by on
in Leaders & Managers,People Management

To get past conflict, pick your words carefully. Even with good intentions, you can go astray by adopting an arrogant or hectoring tone. Choosing softer, more generous words and phrases can help you bridge gaps and restore peace. Tips:

Get in the same room. Trying to resolve conflict via email will slow you down and increase the odds of misunderstanding. When people can’t see you, they can’t interpret your nonverbal cues.

When you’re face-to-face, you can establish an air of reconciliation by welcoming someone with a warm smile and a friendly greeting. If you cannot meet in person, use Skype or FaceTime so that you can at least see each other.

Engage in a two-way exchange. Start by enlisting the other person’s help. Use phrases such as, “I’d like your input on this” or “I need to talk through something with you.”

This shows that you’re eager to listen as well as speak. Dignifying another person’s role defuses tension and creates equal footing for everyone to open up.

Gather information. You are more apt to resolve conflicts if you possess sufficient information to see all sides and make concessions. Usually, that requires asking a series of questions. Examples include, “Can you fill me in on the details of what happened?” or “What else do you think I need to know?”

Uncover perceptions. To get past conflict, understand how someone’s position differs from your own. You may think you know the answer, but it’s safer to confirm.

Ask questions such as, “How did you reach that conclusion?” and “Why do you think that happened?”

— Adapted from The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book, Barbara Mitchell & Cornelia Gamlem, Career Press.

Leave a Comment