There is not any business or romantic relationship which does not have its share of conflict and problems. Conflict is a normal part of life; it is impossible to avoid. People who run successful businesses and people who are in happy relationships are those who know how to effectively handle conflict (not avoid or deny it). Conflict resolution skill #5, which is essential for success in business and life, is the ability to effectively compromise and negotiate.
Unfortunately, many people associate the words compromise and negotiation with the idea of losing. These people think if you compromise – then you have given up something – therefore you have sustained a loss. This is a very detrimental and non-productive way of thinking about compromise, especially since the only way any conflict can be effectively resolved is for you to compromise on what you want – so the other person will be willing to compromise on what they want. Lead by example! You give a little and you get back a lot. Once all parties are willing to compromise on what are considered to be their acceptable terms, the process of negotiation can begin. But if no one is ever willing to compromise and move away from their original position, a stalemate ensues; this is a disastrous situation for a marriage and a business.
The most effective way to begin the process of compromise and negotiation is to understand your partner’s position (whether it be your romantic partner, business partner, client, etc). Understanding your partner’s position does not mean you are in agreement with it; rather it means you understand their position based on where they are coming from. Understanding allows you to see conflict from their perspective; it also sheds light and gives you a deeper awareness on how you have come to your own position. Understanding your partner’s position makes them feel heard and respected (even while disagreeing with them). Therefore, when the negotiation process is finished, both parties walk away from it feeling as if they have gained something, as opposed to having “lost” or “given in”.
Conflict understood from a positive perspective gives you the opportunity to experience mutual growth and change – a win-win for all. When conflict is resolved based on respect and understanding of the other person’s position, whether it is in your business or your romantic relationship, you can feel secure in the knowledge that your relationship can survive challenges and disagreements.
Conflict can be framed as an opportunity for growth through adversity and resolved through the 5 conflict resolution skills discussed over these past few weeks!
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