In the same way that you started the discussion by identifying what you and your colleague agree on, focus your discussion on common interests and desired outcomes. If your colleague feels that you are both going in the same direction or that you have a common outcome in mind, the disagreement over how to get there is less frightening and controversial. How can you move towards an agreement? It can be easy to find possible solutions if, by helping your colleagues understand their divergent positions and interests, it is clear that this conflict was just a misunderstanding or that there is a way forward that respects the interests of both parties. If it turns out that their interests are as conflicting as their positions, it may be harder to find a solution, but don`t give up. When you think about how to disagree, you realize that you will always be working with that colleague every day. A compromise could be the answer. Thus, it could be to recognize that there are certain points on which you will never agree, so you might have to accept in order to disagree. To be fair, it`s usually easier to get along than to confront someone, at least in the short term. And it feels good if someone agrees to something we say or admit, “I agree.” That`s what I wanted from Marguerite. And instead of accepting that she saw things differently from me, I called her “difficult.” It was a mistake, and not just because I end up making a fool of myself.
Thinking so, I lost a potentially productive working relationship. Imagine how much better the project could have worked if I had offended Marguerite openly and respectfully. Studies have shown that the first separate meetings are more fruitful if the manager spends time building empathy and understanding the problem. In subsequent meetings, there will be sufficient time to discuss the resolution of the conflict. Also be sure to use empathy in this first encounter (it must have been really hard for you) and no sympathy (I`m sorry for what you went through). An expression of empathy is respectful, but relatively neutral and does not imply any support for the person`s position. Taking responsibility for the disagreement and taking the first step towards correcting the situation will show that you have good leadership qualities. There is a difference between what colleagues say and targeted listening. The latter involves intentional listening and the interpretation of non-verbal indications such as body language. If you learn to listen to people more closely, you will be more understanding. Colleagues will also likely notice that you are more receptive, which could change the way they listen to you in return.
In such a work environment, it is more likely that conflicts will not occur or that they will be resolved calmly. If this was the case for you, mention that you took the initiative to resolve the conflict before it escalated. When we have disagreements with our friends and family members, things often get stormy and emotional.