Productive Conflict: Communicate Respectfully

Have you ever been in conflict with someone who just lets it all hang out there? They have no filter and say everything and anything they’re thinking, regardless of how it comes off?

My guess is your answer is yes.

Communication with tact and respect is the key to building relationships.

This is true in every conversation, but it’s especially true in conflict situations. When we speak without thinking, our words are more likely to be clouded with emotion rather than facts.

People who communicate respectfully are often respected by their peers, direct reports, and managers. They tend to remain calm and collected, even when tensions begin to rise. They listen to what’s being said and can separate fact from emotion in order to formulate a tactful response. They’re also the people who know what to say to extinguish the flames.

Respectful communication doesn’t mean that you agree with what everyone is saying.

It’s also not necessarily an effort to disarm the conflict. Remember, conflict can be productive, and that’s what respectful communication is all about—getting the information out there and allowing conflict to happen in a productive and respectful way.

The great thing about respectful communication is that it only takes one person in a group to stay calm and communicate their thoughts with respect for the whole group to catch on. It’s encouraging to others and gives off a composed vibe for the rest of the group to follow.

Communicating respectfully may be more natural for those with the C style and S style than for those with the D style and i style.

This is the 14th post in an 18-part series discussing positive conflict behaviors. Effective leaders encourage productive conflict and discourage unproductive conflict. Follow along as we explore the positive impact of these behaviors.

Part 1: Finding the Root of the Problem
Part 2: Apologize
Part 3: Listen to Differing Perspectives
Part 4: Bring in a Neutral Perspective
Part 5: Separate Emotion from Fact
Part 6: Own Your Contributions
Part 7: Offer Reassurance
Part 8: Find a Compromise
Part 9: Give Others Time and Space
Part 10: Acknowledge the Feelings of Others
Part 11: Revisit Unresolved Issues
Part 12: Pause & Reflect
Part 13: Be Flexible

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