YP Virtual Ignition Series 3: Courageous Conversations

Courageous Conversations: Confrontation without Conflict Recap

The top three hardest conversations we face in our lives are work-related:

  • Discussing Pay
  • Talking about a colleague’s inappropriate behavior
  • Feedback on poor performance

What are the Five Main Causes of Fear?

  1. Not knowing how the other person will respond
  2. Not being able to get a point across clearly
  3. Being in a confrontational situation
  4. Getting upset or emotional
  5. The other person getting upset or emotional

A courageous conversation is a discussion between two or more people where:

  • The stakes are high
  • Opinions differ
  • Strong emotions are present

What is conflict?

Conflict is a disagreement through which the parties involved perceive a threat to their needs, interests or concerns.

3 steps to managing conflict

  1. What is your conflict management style?

There are tons of conflict and communication styles assessments, both for purchase and for free. Learn your style first before trying to learn others. Once you know how you react to conflict, you will be able to adjust your behavior and react in a more positive way.

  1. How good are you at reading people?

Recognize the signs of stress in other people. It takes practice and experience, but once you can recognize when someone is becoming stress, becoming bored, or becoming angry, you can better react and deescalate the conversation.

  1. What do you really want?

Take a step back and try to see above the emotions, remember what you are truly after. Most of the time, you are on the same side as the one you are having the conversation with. And when you are not on the same side, you can always find a compromise when you focus on the end goal and work together to meet in the middle.

Conflict involves emotion:

  • Your body physically reacts
  • You are under pressure
  • You are stumped
  • You act in self-defeating ways
  • Your emotions tend to rule

So how can you engage in a courageous conversation effectively?

  1. Recognize Levels of Conflict

Determine from which level the conflict originates: organizational, interpersonal, or personal.

  1. Make it safe

Embrace a mutual purpose and offer mutual respect.

Key: If you are misinterpreted, use a contrasting statement. State the message you’re NOT trying to send and then state the message you ARE trying to send.

  1. Start with a value statement

What values can I rely on to craft my response?

“I (am) (feel) ___________________ when you _____________ because _________________.  I would prefer that ___________________________________.”

  1. Next, ground yourself

Ask yourself:

  • What is the issue
  • Why is it bothering you?  What gets you “hooked”?
  • What are your assumptions?
  • What emotions are attached to the situation?
  • What is your purpose in having the conversation?  How will you start it?
  • What will happen if have this conversation?  What will happen if you don’t?
     5. Look at conflict in a different way: an opportunity to conduct a courageous conversation!