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two people having a conversationWe all face conflict from time to time—an interaction with another party in which, on the surface, there appears to be friction. Knowing how to move forward and maintain solid working relationships can be a challenge at times.

Here’s a list of five practical things you can do when faced with conflict.

  1. Take an “interview approach” to the conversation. This allows you to begin by getting the other person’s perspective on things.
  2. Practice the conversation with someone who is willing to give you feedback on your planned approach—someone who can broaden your perspective and play “devil’s advocate.”
  3. Dig deep to understand why the conflict exists in the first place. There are a wide variety of root causes to conflict, such as: demands on resources; different values; different perceptions of a problem; conflicting roles; and so on. Try to understand what might be at the source of the conflict for the other person.
  4. View the conflict as an opportunity to broaden perspectives. Conflict can offer you a chance to grow your relationship and see things from each other’s vantage points.
  5. Assume positive intention. Start with the belief that the other person has the best of intentions with his or her efforts, even though that person could possibly be misguided.

Practicing any or all of these strategies can help make difficult conversations much easier to manage.