No matter how nice or easy-going you are, you will inevitably find yourself in conflict. People will not always agree with you, and you will not always agree with others. I know a little bit about conflict resolution. It was the topic of my dissertation at Harvard. I have found that collaboration is key to positively resolving conflict. When you collaborate with the person with whom you’re in conflict, you focus on meeting both your needs and their needs. This helps you bring together both of your viewpoints to get the best solution. When you collaborate, neither person is likely to feel as if he or she won or lost. Successful people, the people who get promoted, are adept at resolving conflict in a positive manner. They're collaborative; and when you collaborate with others – especially those with whom you are in conflict – you're not only likely to resolve your conflict in a positive manner, you're also likely to strengthen your relationship with the other person. It’s a win-win. Successfully dealing with conflict is somewhat counter-intuitive. By definition, conflict is a state of disagreement. When you’re in conflict with someone, instead of focusing on where you disagree, focus on where you both agree. That’s collaboration in action. This is a great way to not only resolve the conflict, it helps strengthen relationships. And, as we all know, conflict often leads to a deterioration of relationships. This approach is a no-brainer. First, you get to resolve conflict positively. Second, you strengthen your relationships. Third, you improve your chances of getting the promotion you want and deserve.
March 28, 2013