Conflict, disagreements and confrontations are tough and can ruin your mood, your day, and even your relationships. Whether it is a friend, lover, a boss, a family member, someone on the street, or even within yourself, it feels awful.
Conflict is not easy and can very quickly steal your confidence right out from under you. We all have to deal with it almost every day to some degree. Being able to navigate through it without wasting time, energy or self esteem is important, right?
I share with you a 4 step method for handling conflict while maintaining your confidence, but before we get into the process, let us look at four common conflicts you can relate to in relationships.
Conflict Scenario One
Your micro-managing, know-it-all boss is breathing down your neck and you are sick and tired of his or hers childish "power games". How do you stick up for yourself, get respect, and maintain harmony (and keep your job)?
Conflict Scenario Two
Your lover keeps pulling some codependent, guilt-trip manipulation tactics on you and you want it to stop before it gets worse and ruins the relationship. What do you do to balance things out without causing an argument or giving in?
Conflict Scenario Three
Your "guys/girls night out" friend always seems to have things their way and you end up doing the activities they want to do. How do you get to call the shots sometimes without it being a fight or risk being rejected?
Conflict Scenario Four
You are on the phone with Mum or Dad and they go into their typical "Lecture Mode" or they spew out a bunch of fear-based negativity that drains your energy.
How can you have a conversation without being rail-roaded or turning it into a battle of personalities?
Be heard, respected and honoured without having to push, force, threaten, or trick the other person and get what you want and need while satisfying their wants and needs.
Result = Win/Win
Use the E.C.H.O. approach
I like to create scientific systems and methods that are easy to use, remember, replicate and are universally applicable.
E.C.H.O. is a four step communication skill that I developed while studying and experimenting with alternative communication styles to get what I want and to build co-empowered relationships to use when I am working using my Dynamic Life Development System.
Let me break it down…
E = Empathize
C = Clarify
H = Honour
O = Offer
Repeat back what you "think" you heard and understood. Do it in a non-judgemental way so as to prevent them from becoming defensive.
People (including you) need to feel heard and understood, and it's your job to make that happen. Empathy is simply showing and/or telling someone that you "get" where they're at, what they want/need, etc.
This alone can dissolve any conflict.
Ask a clarifying question or two so as to be sure you know what they really want and need in the moment.
Many people are unclear and confused about the end-result that they are aiming for and you can help them clarify it by asking two simple questions:
a) "So you want to do/go/have ____, right?"
b) "What's the end result you are looking for?"
Notice that question "a" is clarifying the action, event, activity, etc.
And question "b" clarifies what they really want and need.
Honour the fact that what you helped clarify is what they want and need right now.
No matter how selfish, irrational, silly, unproductive, or conflicting it is to you, it is a part of their wants and needs. Just like you, they have their own view points, preferences, and prerogatives. Making them wrong is a sure-fire way to cause argument and discord. But by honouring their authentic wants and needs verbally builds trust and puts them at ease.
Offer an alternative or second option that might allow both of you to get what you want and need.
The easiest way is to ask, "If I can offer you an alternative that gets you what you want and need, are you open to hearing it?"
Then make the offer. I suggest you follow the steps above on paper as a practice run.
Next time you have a situation where there is a disagreement or conflict, instead of just giving in, whining about it, or blowing up and getting defensive, try using the ECHO approach and see what happens.
Remember, application and action is key. Nothing changes until you do something different.
What are your thoughts and ideas on dealing with conflict situations that you can solve so you both have the WIN-WIN?
As always, leave a man or woman all the better for knowing you.
Average men and women know only the rules.
Masculine Men and Feminine Women know and are the EXCEPTIONS!
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