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Ways to De-Escalate Conflict

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

Conflict brings two fears: others’ imperfection and our own. However, we need to push through conflicts to grow our business and ourselves.


My last post covered why de-escalation matters. This post describes ways to de-escalate conflict.


Step back – Pause before reacting, and maybe walk, meditate, or read. If you're still angry, draft the email but definitely don’t send. Get a good night’s sleep or have a friend read first.


Then talk directly since tone and body language are lost by email.


Practice empathy – Find one positive thing about the other person by separating character and behavior.


Be sure to see the other person's side. How are they impacted and how would you feel in the same circumstances?*


Own yourself – Take responsibility for what you bring. Maybe something earlier carries into now.


This is not about right and wrong. Oil and water just don't mix, neither one is wrong.


Face it directly – Realize conflict does not diffuse on its own. It often intensifies, so address an issue early.


Approach using “I” sentences (vs. “you”) and listen intently. Finding a mediator to focus on resolution can help. At the end, agree on next steps to prevent the situation from recurring.


Every leader faces strong challenges. Knowing yourself and resolving conflict early leads to success.


* “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” ― Maya Angelou

Photo by Matt Henry who can be found here

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