If we fall out with our families, those who we love and are close to, it’s almost guaranteed to happen in business.
Differing opinions, falling out, disagreeing, not seeing eye to eye ….. they happen every day. Now avoiding conflict is always the ideal position. Dale Carnegie, in the award winning book How to Win Friends and Influence People, stated The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Whenever we argue with someone, no matter if we win or lose the argument, we still lose. The other person will either feel humiliated or strengthened and will only seek to bolster their own position. We must try to avoid arguments whenever we can.
Let’s be clear, this doesn’t mean don’t challenge. If we’re unhappy about something, then it must be faced and aired but there’s a way to do it
Easier said than done though. Especially when we have differing behaviour and learning styles, sometimes a clash just happens (see our separate detail on the Platinum Rule based on D.I.S.C. ® & Myers Briggs®)
Avoiding it is the best. What’s the next best then? How do we act and react when something happens that we don’t like. Back to Mr Carnegie for me, another principle from the book that always comes to mind is. Let the other person save face.
Nothing diminishes the dignity of someone more than pointing out their errors to others. We’ve all done it. Whether it’s to colleagues at work or when we’re trying to educate someone on their driving – I would hazard a guess that most of us have done it at some point.
Aligned with this, here’s the last principle that makes so much sense – Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
Other people may often be wrong, but let’s at least try to understand them. Success in dealing with people requires a sympathetic grasp of the other person’s viewpoint.
To do that, we need to communicate. Almost as bad as having the disagreement in the first place is not being able to talk about it.
Communication is everything. Having a frank, considerate discussion normally shows that there is middle ground. To not even have that discussion could be considered immature leadership.
Even if we think we are 100% right (we may think it but are we?), if we don’t discuss it then there are potentially longer term consequences. If we don’t seek to understand, then we are unlikely to gather the opinions we need on other projects. We will stifle that open creative dialogue that we need to grow our businesses and organizations.
We’ve all been on the wrong end of someone just refusing to engage.
In fact, how do we feel when we’re not listened to, when our feelings or views aren’t considered? Let’s be honest, we normally have a reaction and it’s never positive to the other person
They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.
—Carl W. Buehner
When the difference happens, face it considerately, communicate (which also means listen) and most of all, make sure that there is a way of moving on – even if it is separately.