Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm

Team Member Engagement

Building Trust through Conflict

by Dale Carnegie

March 07, 2013
Ironically, you have an opportunity to take a relationship to a higher level of trust after a conflict situation. Think of a time when your car had to be returned to the dealer for repair. You may have been frustrated and annoyed by the situation. If the auto dealer handled the situation successfully, we will choose that dealer over another in the future. You trust that they will come through, even if there is an issue. In order to rise to that level of trust in conflict situations, you must be able to:
Nothing is more irritating than being in conflict with another person who is rigidly adhering to their set of rules and unwilling to adapt to the particular situation. Be willing to look at the situation objectively and let go of resentment, bias, and inflexible thinking.
Keep the Relationship Warm
Just because you are coming from opposite viewpoints, you don’t have to treat each other coldly or rudely. That only deepens the resentment in the conflict situation. Try to continue to connect on a human level with the other person.
Listen to Values
Sometimes a conflict situation gets bogged down in petty details. If you can focus on the values of the other person and look for shared values, you can often find a way to resolve the conflict.
Act on What You Hear
If another person has an issue with you and feels strongly enough about it to express it, it is your responsibility as a professional to act on that communication. You show your good faith in trying to bring the conflict to a mutually acceptable resolution.
Follow Up
You can’t simply walk away from a conflict situation and expect that everything is resolved. People need time to cool off and process solutions. Follow up with the other person and check to see that you have moved beyond the conflict in your relationship.
Be Willing to Change Yourself
How can you expect other to change if you can’t change yourself? Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. To put the conflict behind you permanently, you have to demonstrate that you are doing your best to change.
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