How to End Disputes Gracefully | TechWell

How to End Disputes Gracefully

Given the many points of view in any work effort, disputes may be inevitable. The challenge is to gracefully terminate these disputes with none of the parties suffering black eyes or bruised egos. When you find yourself embroiled in a divisive difference of opinion, here are some things to try.

Listen with the genuine intention of trying to understand. It’s not easy if you hear outrageous claims made about you, your work, or those you care about, but clamp down on your vocal cords and let the other person state his or her case. Difficult though it might be to restrain yourself, do not interrupt.

When it’s your turn, present your case calmly. Don’t let important facts float away on a stream of hot air. Watch that tone of voice and body language; speaking in a blaming tone or with blaming gestures may make the other party not at all disposed to consider your ideas. And it’s not just in parenting that yelling eliminates listening.

Explain, don’t argue. And don’t hurl accusations. If you’re puzzled or upset by something the other person has said or done, explaining is more likely to resolve the tension than arguing. Disputes often arise because of an innocent misunderstanding that can be easily rectified. If you can determine that this is the case, you may discover you’re not as far apart as you thought.

Make it easy for the person to accept your viewpoint. Once you call someone a doofus, it’s a lot harder to reorient the discussion so the other person can save face. You may not agree with the person’s ideas, but rare is the situation in which you can’t find merit in his or her views. If you can avoid being rigidly one-sided, you’re more likely to resolve the dispute to your mutual satisfaction—and that, after all, is the ultimate objective.

Look for ways in which the other person can benefit. Even if you believe your position is the only acceptable one, seek a win-win solution. If you’re determined to fight until you win, you may succeed, but remember that word of mouth has a way of turning today’s victories into tomorrow’s losses. And what does it say about you if the only way you can get your way is by bludgeoning the other person into submission?

Granted, these tips won’t resolve every dispute. But if reacting automatically or at a lofty decibel level has been your style, dare to try some new behaviors. If you treat people in a respectful, let’s-figure-this-out-together manner even when you disagree with them, you’ll save wear and tear on yourself. In the process, you may find your differences aren’t so major after all.

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