This week, we examine conflict. The kind of conflict that comes up at work and threatens to knock you off your game. Sometimes, conflict is super obvious, as in: “OMG, there are people shouting at me.” Other times, it may take shape as an underlying friction or something even subtler. You can sense something is going on, but it isn’t so clear what caused it, or — more importantly — what will make it go away.
In this Lesson, we explore the techniques you can use to navigate contentious interactions. You’ll receive three teachings. The first two — working with open-ended questions and balancing advocacy and inquiry — are conversational moves that de-escalate conflict. Notably, both moves are also skillful means for surfacing more data, exploring hidden assumptions, creating better understanding, and ultimately reaching more sound decisions.
The third area of teaching this week has to do with a series of process moves you can use to avoid common causes of conflict in meeting-driven cultures before they do damage. While the focus of this Lesson will be meetings — the venue for a significant amount of workplace conflict — the techniques you will learn here are equally useful for other types of interaction as well.
Week 7 Learning Objectives
In this week’s Lesson, you will gain:
- An understanding of the conversational techniques that foster greater transparency and openness, which leads to superior decision-making while steering away from conflict and escalation.
- Increased appreciation of the common triggers of a substantial amount of tension and disengagement at work.
- Knowledge to help you set up your interactions in a way that avoids some of the most common triggers.
- A handbook of process moves you can use to run your meetings in a manner that is both gracious and designed to help your audience listen to you (as opposed to getting distracted and falling into non-productivity and/or conflict).