- Create your own mental space and perspective.
Avoid emotional overload with techniques that allow you to see other people’s anger and anxiety, especially towards you, as not personal. For example, imagine the other person as far-away thunderstorm, a hard drive spinning up, or a friendly Golden Labrador.
- Solve problems first, throw stones later.
Remove sources of conflict by solving problems before assigning blame. Once the problem has been solved, you’ll have time to figure out who’s responsible without continued stress from the problem.
- Blame yourself.
No, really. Just for a moment, imagine you are contributing to the problem. If it’s true, change your own behavior and avoid conflict. Then forgive yourself and move on.
- Bring in a conflict coach.
Make a safe space to resolve your conflicts by bringing in someone who can help keep your problem-solving conversation productive and professional.
- Reward yourself for doing dealing with conflict.
Take the dread out of dealing with conflict by promising yourself a reward. After you deal with the conflict, give yourself the reward, even if it wasn’t as bad as you predicted.
Case Study: Why Great Start-Ups FailA promising Internet startup was crumbling. They’d had to spend money they didn’t have to settle a lawsuit, their main client was three months past due on an important invoice, and the two principals weren’t talking to each other. With coaching through a mediation session, they resolve their problems and re-engage with each other and their business.