If you deal with people, you will, sooner or later, have to deal with conflict. Conflict is not inherently bad. Conflict simply stems from differing viewpoints. Since no two people view the world exactly the same way, disagreement is quite normal. In fact, anyone who agrees with you all of the time is probably telling you what you want to hear, not what he or she actually believes.
The reason conflict is often dreaded is because of the emotional aspects that come along with it. When there is conflict, it means that there is disagreement between two or more individuals. The conflict is usually in relation to interests or ideas that are personally meaningful to either one or both of the parties involved.
Unmanaged conflict can lead to bad feelings and even violence. The key to managing conflict effectively is to learn the skills necessary to become good at handling conflict.
Three main areas where conflicts occur in business are in:
Rules for disagreeing diplomatically.
Regardless of the type of conflict you are dealing with, there are several general rules of thumb you should follow whenever you are trying to bring harmony to a volatile situation.
Reflect your understanding of the other's position or opinion. "What I am hearing you say is..." This communicates that you are listening to their opinion and take their opinion into account before you state yours.
Let the other person know that you value him/her as a person even though his/her opinion is different from yours. "I understand (appreciate, respect, see how you feel that way, etc.)". This communicates that you hear them and respect their opinion.
State your position or opinion. "I feel, think, want, etc." This communicates that you don't agree, but you value them - so let's exchange ideas comfortably, not as a contest for superiority.
To become a good conflict manager requires a lot of practice. Just remember that the goal is to reach a compromise that both of you can live with as well as be happy with. In other words, find a way that both of you can walk away feeling like a winner