As you approach a stressful situation involving another person, like a crisis or a conflict, what is influencing you? Are you driven by a judgemental attitude, the need to get it right, your own insecurities?

Here’s how you find out. If any of these are familiar to you, then you are more likely to fall into a combative and defensive style of communication when attempting to resolve a conflict:

  • The need to make the ‘right’ decision
  • Fear of being seen as indecisive
  • Not wanting somebody else to ‘win’ or have what they want
  • Feeling under pressure to act immediately
  • The belief that you ‘should’ know the answer
  • Low self-confidence in your role or a situation
  • Difficulty accepting uncertainty.

Unsurprisingly, since most people reciprocate, you’ll find that the other person is driven by similar factors; the result? It’ll either be a head-to-head battle where nobody wins, stalemate, or a jump to a course of action that won’t have been given much consideration.

On the other hand, you may be one of those rare people who is actually motivated by a different set of factors. You are curious, you enter the debate in a spirit of enquiry, you are creative and open to taking a little risk, you accept the other person at face value and you are eager to work with them to find a solution.

When you adopt a CURIOUS approach, looking for opportunities and acknowledging the other person as a collaborator and not a competitor, they’ll feel less threaten and you can open up the field to new possibilities.