Conflict resolution is a formidable concept for most leaders. Conflict takes the brain right to anxiety mode. Once it is over, we move back to curious brain mode. What if we could stay in curious brain when we engage in resolving conflict? Curious brain is focused on learning, growth, self-reflection and connection. Anxious brain demands certainty, protection and tends to be evaluative or judgmental.
To move to curious brain, start with your own self-examine by asking “What or how have I contributed to this conflict?” This is also where you start in the conversation by saying “My contribution to this issue is x, y or z” I recall early on in leadership I had failed at giving clear expectations and as a result this was my contribution to the conflict. This helped open the door to a stronger working partnership.
David Brooks says that “Character is built in the course of your inner confrontation.” Conflict resolution begins with resolving the issues within yourself vs. thinking it is all about their issues.