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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

Conflict Management

Perhaps we ought to add conflict to death and taxes as one of the things we can count on in this life. The only way to avoid conflict is to isolate ourselves from all other people on the planet.

In nearly all relational situations, it is most productive to go into a confrontation keeping the other person’s interests in mind.

If people are put in a position to start speculating about another person’s motives or to figure out what might have really happened, they often think the worst.

A significant hindrance to positive conflict resolution is having too many preconceived notions going into a confrontation. There’s a saying that the person who gives an opinion before he understands is human, but the person who gives a judgment before he understands is a fool.

Successful confrontation usually changes both people, not just one.

But it all starts with genuine concern for the other person. Abraham Lincoln summed it up when he said, “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend . . . Assume to dictate to his judgement, or to command his action, or to mark him as one to be shunned and despised, and he will retreat within himself . . . you shall no more be able to pierce him than to penetrate the hard shell of a tortoise with a rye straw.”

John C. Maxwell, Winning with People: Discover the People Principles That Work for You Every Time (Nashville, TN: HarperCollins Leadership, 2007).

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