Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

The quest for improved results dictates the need for change. It’s a journey filled with conflicting opinions that require resolution before commitment to the change can be secured. 

In his latest book, “Thriving in Conflict,” Doug Johnston presents his definition of conflict as “a gap between what we expect and what we experience that leads to deeper understanding and better results. 

The “deeper understanding” described in Doug’s definition is enabled by ensuring that the exchange of differing opinions remains productive. There are proven tools that facilitate positive momentum towards resolution, but none are more important than humility and some agreed rules of engagement. 

Practicing productive conflict dialogue begins by developing principles to guide how the two parties will engage each other, providing conversational boundaries intended to minimize the amount of conflict. The first such rule involves adopting a mindset of curiosity that shifts away from “I’m going to convince you” to “What can I learn by first asking and listening, before declaring my position?” 

Asking the other party to launch the discussion by stating their goal, explaining why it’s important, and describing what is needed from you, while you listen without interruption, expresses respect and reduces defensiveness, accelerating gap discovery and ultimately, resolution. 

How frequently do you confront the need to resolve 
conflicting positions?

How might these ideas strengthen your conflict resolution process?