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The Secret to Turning Conflict into Influence

The outcome from any conflict should not be victory, but progress. A lesser appreciated yet more powerful outcome is increased levels of influence. Here’s the secret to converting any conflict into influence.


Photo courtesy of Flickr user Rishis S.


Want a breakthrough approach for managing conflict? Here it is – stop focusing on winning or losing, and start focusing on building influence as the desired outcome. By doing so, you will naturally demonstrate trust based behaviors, which research continues to show is sorely missing at home and in the workplace. Increase your levels of trustworthiness and influence, and you will achieve higher levels of personal and career success. So use the road map below to begin converting conflict into positive influence allowing you to seize opportunities that most people are too clouded by their emotions to even realize exist.



During Conflict…


Convert Conflict to Influence By…

People are insecure Identifying their insecurities, remaining calm, listening actively, and asking questions to ensure you understand what the person is most concerned about. Once you know what they’re insecure about, constantly state your intentions to find a solution that will not take advantage of them. This builds trust.
People want to win Remaining solutions focused as opposed to problem focused. The immediate focus during conflict is to win and avoid losing. Be assertive in moving the focus on solutions. This is best achieved by asking “What” and “How” questions – as in “What are some potential solutions,” and “How do you think we can achieve them?”
People want to be heard Demonstrating active listening. When in conflict, it’s natural for all parties to stop listening because their focus is on fighting to be right. The best tool to maintain your listening skills is reflecting back what you hear other people say. This allows you to check for understanding and demonstrate that you are actually listening. Reflective statements are phrased as a question such as, “So what I heard you say is…?”
People are selfish Focusing on areas of agreement. Get the people saying “Yes” as quickly and as frequently as possible. This incredibly effective technique is fully explained in the chapter “The Secret of Socrates” in Dale Carnegie’s best-selling book How To Win Friends and Influence People. You get people to “Yes” through the artful and skilled use of closed ended questions.
People want a better future Using imagery and other descriptive words to paint a picture of a better future. If you’ve revealed your intentions, kept the focus on solutions, listened attentively, and focused on areas of agreement, you can combine all of the information you’ve gathered in the conversation to paint the picture of a better future quite easily. In fact, this is a great way to de-escalate the conflict and move towards a close in the conversation.


I’m not going to mislead you on this technique – it takes lots of practice and dedication to master the skills identified in the chart because we’re not wired to think this way. We are wired to defend, and often times that results in a fight or flight approach. However, once you’ve mastered these skills, you will gain such immense levels of mental control that you will actually become a different person – a more improved version of you. People will take notice, and you will gain a reputation for being the “go to person” and a person of reason in the midst of adversity. You will gain higher levels of trust and your ability to influence others will soar. Use the chart to begin practicing your way to converting conflict to influence starting right now. Your family, friends, and colleagues will thank you for it.


For more tips and strategies on managing conflict and gaining influence with people, email us at, explore the rest of this website, subscribe to this blog, and follow me on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook). By doing so, you will gain access to leading edge research on management and leadership development and have access to daily inspirational and motivational quotes that will drive your success trajectory upward. So don’t delay, follow me and think yourself to success today!



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