Conflict Tools You Can Use


While perusing Pinterest and looking for posts regarding conflict, I came across the following quote:

10% of conflict is due to difference of opinion and 90% is due to tone of voice and delivery.

I was curious about the origin. While I was not able to find consensus as to the author, it seems to be a commonly used quote in dealing with conflict. The quote resonates with me both professionally and personally. So, it makes sense to learn a new way to approach differences.

Conflict is not always negative and it doesn’t always need to turn into combat.

The following are tools you can use to have a different outcome in your next conflict.

  • Slow down. Take time to plan what you say and be aware of possible bad habits that have gotten you in trouble in the past.
  • Check your intention in for the conversation. If your goal is to place blame or criticize, it will probably not turn out well. Enter into the discussion with the goal of expressing your view, problem solving, or learning something new.
  • Check with the other party before beginning conversation. Determine their willingness to engage. Define the problem and be specific.
  • Listen to understand, ask questions. There are always two sides to every story. Be open to understanding the other person’s perspective.
  • Resist the blame game. Criticism shuts down communication. Use “I” statements instead of “you”.
  • Avoid defensiveness by checking your ego at the door. Being open to owning your part in the conflict will further the discussion.
  • Find common ground. Areas of agreement are as important as areas of disagreement.
  • Be open to learning new information.

Ann Sheerin MA
Asheerin @