In the heat of conflict, eight out of ten people often misunderstand the context of the argument, says psychologist Nicholas Epley in the 2016 book, Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Feel, Believe and Want.
Writing on LinkedIn, Dr. Jennifer Beaman, founder of the Association for Leadership Practitioners, says that since the neurotransmitters in our brains go a little haywire during conflict, we need to protect ourselves from impulsivity (Tweet it!). She suggests we manage conflict as though practicing mushin—“a tactic in samurai warfare that in essence, means ‘still center’…the ability to stay calm, read your opponent, and attempt to redirect his aggression in a more productive way.” Among the strategies she recommends:
“Remember to let the other party save face,” says Dr. Brennan. “Workplace relationships are worth preserving (most of the time).”
Have you ever misunderstood the nature of a conflict while you were in the thick of it? Or have you ever felt misunderstood during conflict? What might you do to center yourself in the future? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion.