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Conflict Strategies for Nice People

The Core Issue

When a proposed course of action is wrong according to you, try to understand the core issue, or reasons, that led to the decision, instead of complaining. This will help find common ground with others and take the discussion in the right direction.

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Conflict Strategies for Nice People

Conflict Strategies for Nice People

https://hbr.org/2013/12/conflict-strategies-for-nice-people

hbr.org

8

Key Ideas

A Team Needs Conflict

Overly nice people in the office, who never pick a fight, and value friendly relations with their peers and bosses, may be just as responsible for team dysfunction as the combative ones.

Conflict, though uncomfortable, is a source of true motivation, and crucial for identifying risks and taking compelling decisions.

Benefits Of Conflict

There is a need for conflict in teams for their effective functioning.

  • It allows team members to see difficult situations.
  • It helps put forward alternative solutions and diverse perspectives.
  • It acts as a strength test for the solutions found.

Healthy Conflicts

A nice person's self-image is based on pleasing and agreeing with others.

Instead of just agreeing and being nice, one should add unique value and perspective.

If you only agree with everyone, you may even not be that valuable to the team.

Use 'And' Not 'But'

When a conflict-avoiding person has to disagree or has to add his perspective, he can use the word 'And' instead of showing disapproval of the team's options by saying 'But'.

Imagine A Different Scenario

Another strategy is to hypothetically imagine a different scenario with the team members, putting across your point as a brain exercise, not as a commandment. The team is then less likely to contradict you.

Indirect Questions

If you disagree with a decision and want to preserve your reputation as a nice person, you can ask indirectly, pointing towards the impact of the teams' decision, instead of making a direct statement criticizing or finding fault.

An open-ended question will help add value and invoke discussion.

The Core Issue

When a proposed course of action is wrong according to you, try to understand the core issue, or reasons, that led to the decision, instead of complaining. This will help find common ground with others and take the discussion in the right direction.

"Help Me Understand"

Another 'nice conflict' tactic when you see an outrageous decision being approved, is to ask for help.

Asking for help to understand the decision indicates you are not endorsing it. You can then ask open-ended questions to steer the decision the right way.

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Embrace conflict

Don’t avoid conflict or pretend nothing has happened as it usually will only get worse.

  • If you notice a conflict between employees, encourage them to work it out.
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Resolving conflict
  • Talk together. Each person should have adequate time to say what he or she believes the other party needs to hear. 
  • Listen carefully to gain understanding. Give your complete attention to the person who is talking without interrupting. 
  • Resolution is possible only when you find points of agreement
  • Guide the conversation without taking sides. 
  • Be quick to forgive. Every conflict needs a clear resolution that acknowledges hurt feelings and finds a solution that begins to mend them.

Make Time To Connect

Workers crave a sense of authentic connection with others and the best way to do that is by bringing people together in person. But it's not always a viable alternative.

One way to do that...

Communication
  • Set clear expectations and make an effort to be a good listener.
  • Set clear boundaries. Establish a preferred time for communications so you feel respected and acknowledged.
  • Get to know others. Remote workers often have purely transactional interactions. Listen to people and get to know them.
  • Update people on what you’re working on and your availability
Use Shared Experiences

A co-located office develops its own personality through inside jokes, shared experiences, and a collaborative environment. A remote team needs to develop something similar.

Creating specific Slack channels based on interests and book clubs where the company funds the books are the easiest ways to do this for remote workers.

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Nonviolent communication

It lets us reframe how we express ourselves and hear others. 

It allows us to speak in terms of what we observe, how we’re feeling, what our needs are, and how we respond to other...

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Is to empower functional giving and receiving. 

If implemented correctly, it can replace knee-jerk reactions and old, ineffective patterns. It can be built like any habit.

Observation
  • Take a mental step back and just watch what's happening in the current situation.
  • Record these observations in your mind without assigning value to them
  • Hold back from judgment or evaluation
  • Say what you see, but not what you think of it. Examples: “What I’m hearing you ask me is…” or “I see that you want this…”

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