Resolve Conflict by Taking the Other Person’s Perspective

Young businessman being confronted by his angry female boss. Isolated on white.

In conflict, your perspective is, by definition, different from the other person’s.

Both of you have feelings, desires, and maybe your self-esteem is at stake.  You can be strategic in resolving conflict by being self-aware and also “other aware”.  It doesn’t mean you have to agree, but knowing where the other person is coming from is valuable and humanizing.

Start with yourself: What causes you to view the situation this way?  How does your culture, personality, or circumstance show up?  Now imagine the other person: What do you know about them?  Their values?  Position?  What’s important to them?  What shows up about their culture, personality, or circumstance?

To understand another person’s perspective we must be willing to suspend our own opinions and look through the world through their eyes.  What are the pressures in their life?  What is driving their behavior and attitude?

When we gain this type of insight, we more easily diffuse the tension.  By small indications of understanding like, “I’m guessing you are under pressure because of the deadline”, we create space to maneuver. Taking the other person’s perspective is a powerful strategy for sidestepping judgements that block effective communication.

This post is an excerpt from “Six Word Lessons for Transforming Conflict at Work” by Judith Sugg & Alisa Blum.  This book can be purchased from amazon.com here:  Transforming Conflict with Mindfulness.

Contact us to explore how we can help your organization reduce conflict and enhance productivity.