Resolve a personal conflict
Virtual First | Communication Kit
If you work with other human beings who aren’t exactly like yourself, chances are you occasionally run into conflict. Unacknowledged squabbles tend to get worse, especially when we’re not face-to-face—but addressing them skillfully can be a source of enormous growth for everyone involved. Use this discussion to build your conflict competence and solve problems more efficiently.
60 MINS | 1:1 CONVERSATION
At the start of your meeting, summarize your points from the conflict worksheet above. Then pause while your partner responds. Not everyone has a black belt in conflict resolution, so it’s natural for this part to feel awkward. As you listen, reflect:
- Did you have different expectations about how things should go?
- Were you working toward different goals?
- Were they aware of the behavior you noticed, or was it a “blind spot”?
- Did you contribute to the conflict in some way?
Sometimes, simply acknowledging a problem diffuses it. Other times, you need a follow-up. Some ideas:
- If the conflict happened because your roles were unclear, try creating a DACI
- If your project has gotten off-track more generally, try a project checkup
- Need an outside opinion? Consider escalating your conflict
If the conversation goes sideways or you can’t get to a resolution, take a day to reflect. Would it help to talk with a coach or manager? If you find you’ve contributed to the conflict in some way, remember: the words “I’m sorry” are magic.
Extra Credit: Complicate your story
Telling ourselves over-simplified stories about other people’s behavior can have a hugely negative impact on our perceptions and moods. Learning to notice the story we’re telling ourselves—and experiment with alternative ones—can help us get a wiser, more balanced view. Use the Simple story worksheet to get started.
3 easy wins
Build the habit
- Tomorrow. Notice how you’re feeling throughout the day.
- Next week: Feeling tension with someone? What are you needing?
- Quarterly: Pick one discussion-worthy conflict to work through.