Asking Questions to Understand the Other Side

When you approach a conflict, does the other person feel that you care about them? Or do they think you care more about winning the argument? Whether you find yourself in conflict you're your spouse, your best friend, or your boss, you are dealing with another human being – who deserves to be respected and valued. 

One way to show that you value the other person is to ask some powerful questions. After listening to their viewpoint, you can also share your observations. 

Listening to their answers convey that you care about the other person. This fosters goodwill and cooperation, making the task of conflict resolution easier, smoother, and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

For example, if you regularly have a conflict with a co-worker, you might say, “It appears you and I have some difficulty communicating about what part each of us needs to do for this project.

How do you think we could improve that?”  

Ask yourself, “How does conflict affect this relationship?” “What do most of our conflicts revolve around?”

Sometimes, a fresh perspective can be helpful. Ask yourself, “How do you usually handle conflicts?” “What can you do better?”

Also ask each other, “How would our relationship change if we handled conflict more positively?”