Two boys are fighting. They are rolling around on the floor, wrestling out a difference of opinion. Their father says, “at least they’re communicating. At least they’re not locked in respective bedrooms and refusing to talk to each other.” Insightful dad.
Physical wrestling matches aren’t commonplace ways of dealing with differences in most workplaces. Although that would be kind of fun for a change, wouldn’t it? Who hasn’t fantasized about a knock-down-drag-out solution at least once? C’mon, you know you have.
Jeffrey Pfeffer wrote a terrific article for HBR with insightful, actionable tips on dealing with conflict at work.
- Stay focused on what is most essential.
- Don’t fight over things that don’t matter.
- Understand each others’ point of view.
- Keep your friends close, and opponents closer.
- Use humor to diffuse challenging situations.
The first three in particular support reframing the situation, revealing that perhaps it’s not a major conflict at all. The last two are specific to communication. Read the HBR article for examples of each. You’ll be glad you did.
If the tips in the article don’t work for you, you can always click on the image above for tips on becoming an arm wrestler.