Often the hardest part of dealing with conflict is removing the emotions and dealing with the issue at hand. Conflict, by nature, involves emotions and often the emotions are more important than the issue itself. Either way, both must be dealt with and a great way to deal with the emotional and rational side of conflict is to get all the issues out on the table to be discussed in a rational way.
I’ve found these phrases really help communicate effectively when you’re trying to resolve a conflict:
When you … Describe exactly what the person did that you didn’t like, or what doesn’t follow your system, values and so on. Don’t criticize the person, criticize their actions. Be descriptive – not evaluative.
I feel … Tell them how their actions make you feel. For example, “I feel upset, frustrated, angry.” Describe your feelings – and dig deep. If you can truly get your emotions out you’ll have no problem addressing the problem itself.
I need … Describe what you need the person to do in the future in these situations so the conflict doesn’t return. By focusing on this, you’ve addressed your feelings and the person realizes you are getting to the meat of the issue and focusing on getting the problem solved.
How do you feel? … Ask the other person to put their thoughts and feelings on the table. They likely have feelings, emotions and their own version of the facts that need to be heard and validated before the conflict can be resolved.
If you don’t allow them to be articulate, and if you don’t pull all of their feelings out, the conflict won’t get resolved.