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DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS

ASSESSMENT: HOW WELL DO YOU COMMUNICATE DURING CONFLIT?

Mark Goulston

MARCH 6, 2015

Conflict often brings out the worst in us: Our emotions cloud our judgment, and we focus on airing our grievances rather than finding
answers to problems. But if we pay close attention to how we communicate, we can correct misunderstandings, preserve important
relationships, and work more effectively with others. Take this assessment to see how well you communicate during conflictand how
you could improve.

https://hbr.org/2015/03/assessment-how-well-do-you-communicate-during-conflict-2
Good news: You communicate fairly well. You can be direct, sensitive, patient, open-minded, and sincere
all traits that are essential to working through misunderstandings. But sometimes, in the heat of battle, you
lose perspective. These articles from HBRs archive will help:

On being direct:
[Cada frase a seguir contm um hiperlink que direciona o internauta para uma leitura relevante:]

Dont go into hiding when someone (especially your boss) is mad at you.
Look out for signs that youre being passive-aggressive, and work on getting over your fear of conflict.
Start a conversationbut make sure you choose the right words.
Dont be afraid to call out bad behavior when you see it, and learn how to firmly say no when you need to.

On being sensitive:
Try to understand whats causing the conflictmaybe its insecurity, or a desire for power and control, or
someone elses bad behavior.
Recognize how your emotions might be affecting your thinking. Learn to manage them.
Watch for telltale signs that you need to work on your emotional intelligence.
Dont be afraid to disagree, but be mindful of others feelings. Try these strategies to improve your delivery.
When someone is upset, what you say often matters less than how well you listen. Help people vent, so you
can have a more productive conversation.
And if youre dealing with someone from a different culture, adapt your approach accordingly.

On being patient:
Know when and how to let a conflict go. Some heated discussions just arent worth having.
It doesnt help if either party is too emotionalor if people are suppressing their true feelings. Figure out how
to strike a balance.
Dont get defensive.

Before raising a sensitive issue with your boss, make sure your reasoning is sound, and take measures to
protect yourself.

On being open-minded:
Learn to put yourself in your colleagues shoes. Many conflicts erupt because people cling to their own points
of view.
Try to understand what others objectives are, and find areas where they might align with yours.
Stop blaming the other person, and start diagnosing and addressing the real causes and effects of the
conflict.
Recognize your own culpabilityyoure almost certainly contributing to the conflict in some way.
Stop focusing on being right, and look for neutral ground where you can rebuild trust and reciprocity. Bring in
a third party to mediate if necessary.

On being sincere:
Know your values, emotions, and competencies before you let your guard down and engage.
Be honest about the emotional boundaries you need to protect yourself from others and protect others from
you.
Learn to deliver a sincere, earnest, unsolicited apology that can make things right.
I didnt mean to is the wrong way to apologize.