Recently, we negotiated an issue with a farmer who rents some of our land, and Ill be honest... I didn't know how the conversation would go, because, there are very few things that will spark emotion like money.
But in the end, the conversation couldn't have gone better. And there were four things that contributed to its success and avoidance of conflict.
- Mutual Respect. When we approach a topic of potential conflict, it is imperative that we see the person through a lens of respect and empathy. This person has a family, hopes, dreams, hurt and loss like we all do, and showing respect and being empathetic is critical to achieving a resolution without conflict.
- Ask questions. Asking questions is really a natural result of being empathetic. So often we enter conversations with preconceived ideas and judgments that the conflict we spark is simply because of our inability get to the core of one's perspective. When we ask questions, we not only challenge ourselves to be actively engaged and listen with purpose, but we also challenge the other person to communicate their perspective with purpose.
- Choose not to be offended. I read an article by Donald Miller a while ago where he argues that it is entirely our choice whether we are offended by someones words. Ive reflected on this thought often. At first glance, it can be difficult to wrap our heads around, as typically nothing is going to boil our blood, then someones words. Yet we have the choice how we will respond.
- Seek to honour the other person. It may sound a little fluffy at first but let me explain. In our conversation, we both needed to get to the brass tacks and discuss the money. We needed to come up with an arrangement that would work for both parties and it needed to be fair and equitable. In the end, we were both making offers to each other, that were more than either of us were thinking at the start of the conversation. The result was not unlike the Golden Rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".
In the end, an agreement was made, conflict was avoided, and a win-win was achieved. So often we procrastinate and avoid having difficult conversations about sensitive topics, but this is often a result of a selfish perspective, and can be easily be avoided through following a few simple strategies.