You and I come up with some pretty wonderful ideas, which--for some strange reason--aren't immediately embraced by those around us.
So what's our natural response? It's usually to start making statements in defense of our position, which then leads to "I'm going to win!"
Not a good posture.
When you keep announcing the righteousness of your position, the problem defines you. When you respond with a question, both of you begin defining the problem and looking for solutions. Which do you want?j
Here are four model questions that will help you stay above the fray:
- "If this doesn't meet your requirements (criteria, needs), what can be done to ensure that it does?"
- "If you like the idea but not the related cost, what can we do about the budget constraints?"
- "If we can't start the project now, when do you think it would be a good time to get it going?"
- "If you don't want to change anything and think the procedures are fine the way they are, what is it that you like about how they work now?"
You get the idea. The first part of the question acknowledges that you heard the issue; the second invites action from the other person. That way, you stay out "argument" mode and create mutual make the responsibility for a solution.
If this sounds reasonable, what would you need to try it?
Bonus read: For another look into conflict and collaboration, check out Conflict At Work?