Chip Shots - Creatively Resolving Conflict

Here at Lead Change Group, we know that problems are most effectively solved when individuals come together to meld ideas, energies, and approaches.

To use a golf analogy, not every shot is a long drive. Many times, golfers have to take a chip shot to move the ball along for a short distance, with incisive accuracy.

If you are new to the Chip Shots green, welcome. In our Chip Shots feature, our Leading Voices are invited to provide brief insights into a leadership-related topic.

To learn more, spend some time browsing the entire Chip Shots Series.

Today’s Question

When you think back on incidents of "conflict" in your life, what is the one thing you were told that made a difference in the outcome?

David Dye responds: It’s been shared in so many different conflict resolution courses, but the first place I learned it was in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, when Atticus Finch tells Scout: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

When you’re in conflict, it’s vital to really look at the world from the other person’s perspective if you want to create lasting solutions.

Jon Mertz answers: What made the difference in the outcome is the issue was raised as one to begin with. Too often we let conflicts fester. Once raised, it was done with a listening mindset. What this really means is not being accusatory but communicating what the conflict is and what it means to me and our relationship. In the process, offering suggestions on how to change the situation and listening to suggestions as well. By listening and remaining calm in understanding, a better way forward is discovered.

Karin Hurt recommends: Try to step back from the situation and view it as an outside observer to see both sides of what is really happening.

Mary Schaefer shares: Once when I was bemoaning how an interaction went, a mentor of mine told me that good communicators don't always get it right the first time. Humbly ask for a do-over.

Mike Henry reminds us of Steven Covey's fifth habit, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

Thank you David, Jon, Karin, Mary, and Mike for taking a shot at this question!