Express needs instead of fight over problems

When I work with conflict management, I help the parties to that instead of expressing dissatisfaction / anger over problems rather express what needs they have.

“The manager is never present” -> “I need to know when I can talk to my boss”
“You always sneak away when there is a lot of work” -> “I want you to help me when there is a lot of work.”
“You are talking most of the time on our meetings” -> “I have a need to hear what others think, in our meetings and sometimes you talk a lot so the others will get time to express their thoughts. I therefore wish you could talk a little less at the meetings so the other also get some space.” (for me it’s both about to give way and to take place – it is therefore a shared responsibility.

And if the meeting has a facilitator, he/she also have a responsibility so everyone can be heard, as it often is 2-4 people that usually take 80% of broadcasting time on meetings).

Or in a relationship:
“You’re never at home,  you are always with your buddies all the time” -> “I miss you and wish you were more at home with me” (and perhaps add if applicable, “I have a need to feel loved by you”)

When you go from transforming problems into needs, the direction is forward instead of backward.
Try to come to agreements around needs instead of fighting over problems.

That is more constructive and likely more successful.


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