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Conflict Aikido: a constructive approach to conflict at work

Over the holidays I gave you a couple of exercises that call in some tools from Conflict Aikido. I hope you enjoyed using those and that they made your holiday even more enjoyable than they would have otherwise been.

Today I want to share with you another tool, a strategy for dealing with conflict situations in a very effective way. Something that you can take away and apply immediately to shift any challenging situation that you're currently dealing with.

When faced with conflict, the most normal reaction is to look at what can we do? We ask ourselves, how can we solve this situation? What action can I take? And before you know it, you're taking that action.

That's not generally useful in a challenging or conflict situation. In fact, NO immediate action is the best reaction to conflict. The most useful thing we can do is step back, relax, reflect, and think about what we can do that will be most effective.

Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself when faced with conflict.

You want to start by asking… What is the best outcome for everybody involved?

What would "good" look like?

Once you're on the other side of this conflict situation and it's been handled, here are some questions you can ask yourself about that situation.

How will things be different?What will success look like for you, the others, your team, and your company?How will we know the outcome has been achieved?What are the measures?

Look at what is the context in which your conflict situations are rising.

What are the underlying sources of Conflict?What else is going one?What’s the history here?

Who's actually involved and what needs are not being met for them that makes this a conflict situation.

Who are the key people I need to influence to get things done?How important is this situation to them?What are their views on the situation?How do they like to understand things?How do they typically deal with conflict?

And then of course there's you, the self. Here are the questions you want to address in terms of looking at yourself.

How important is this issue to me?What motivates me in this?What are my biases or filters?What is my typical approach to conflict?What will I need to help with?How does all this impact the way I want to address this situation?

And when you take into account all of this, that'll inform the most useful actions to take in order to implement your strategy and produce an outcome that's in the best interest of everybody involved.

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