Have you ever caught yourself more than a little to eager for the conflict? If you haven’t, I admire you. It’s said that awareness is the beginning of change and when it comes to conflict resolution, changing from eager for the fight to ready for a resolution change is gonna do me good. My first awareness of my motive being out of bounds was to hear what my head is thinking. On my way to a meeting where conflict was brewing my mind was thinking of what I would say and none of what my mind was offering up as clever was conducive to resolution. It took until after the meeting for me to check my motives and recognize that I arrived at the meeting with too many fight’n words and too few resolution ideas and questions. Right motives to resolve opposed to being right is the higher ground where I want to live. Checking motives is a first thing not a last thing I need to do all the time to be a part of the solution. This is not a sometime thing, it’s an all the time thing as a favorite coach of mine used to tell me back in the mid 1970’s.
Real estate professionals, at our best, are in the business of resolutions. Finding middle ground, asking questions, offering ideas, considering consequences, being a rational sounding board, suggesting avenues of approach, are constructive actions of the right motives. Asking questions is an under valued skill…questions that lead to resolution not conflict that is. On my shelf is a book that tells me the power of questions. Leading With Questions. They can cut through the fog, “What ideas do you have? What would you like me to hear? What would you like to hear from me? What happens if we…?” or they can cut to the bone, “Do you really believe? What are you trying to do? How can you say that? Are you for real?”
Questions are part of the ingredients for resolution soup, another is statements. Finding the middle ground does not require giving away the farm. To take the high road to the middle ground in a disagreement you may have to make some firm statements. Again, checking my motives will help me make that statement from a position of care for cooperation instead of threat to conflict. Best example that comes to mind is this one: “You’ll hear from our lawyer!” What’s my motive? Well for one, this is statement to incite fear. Just like, “I’m telling mom” or “Just wait till your father gets home!”. Look, lawyers have a place in solutions in the real estate transaction and while it’s open to debate, lawyers are human too so their motive matters too. How we bring a higher legal mind into the discussion is important to the outcome. Here’s how a person of right motive raised the lawyer idea in a conversation with me and I felt the difference. “We’re making progress here. The details can be worked out from here with the help of a lawyer. I’ll ask (insert name here) to put some ideas in writing and how about you run them past your attorney? I liked that. It felt more like a cool mist on a potentially hot topic; the other way is lighter fluid on the flame.
Next time you sense the heat rising, check your motives and resolve to be part of the resolution. You’ll know you have right motives when you’re mind is giving you right questions and smart solutions instead of accusative questions, and harsh statements. Wishing you the best. Change is gonna do us good.