Emotionally Intelligent People Use This Powerful 4-Word Phrase to Resolve Conflict and Work Together

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Ignoring personal differences will only cause them to grow. This phrase helps you bridge the gap.

If you’re trying to run a business (and a household), one of the most important skills you’re ever going to learn is the ability to settle differences, make peace, and work together.

This skill is so important because when you let personal differences go unsolved, they quickly grow in both gravity and consequence–like a wound that’s allowed to fester.

Rather than ignore major disagreements, you have to confront them head on. And the key to doing that is to start with four simple words:

“Let’s talk this out.”

There’s a reason why this phrase is so powerful, and it has to do with emotional intelligence–the ability to understand and manage emotions. Why is this phrase so vital, and how can it help you settle differences and work together? Let’s find out. (If you find value in this lesson, you might be interested in my free course, which teaches you how to build emotional intelligence in yourself and your team.)

How talking it out helps you manage conflict

This phrase may seem simple, but remember: When you’re experiencing friction or a fractured relationship, the absolute last thing you want to do is talk.

The problem is that when you try to sweep major conflicts under the rug, you’re not solving any problems, which means the relationship can’t progress. Instead, that friction will only get stronger. Often, that leads to one or both parties eventually reaching a breaking point.

That’s why, if you and your partner’s opinions or personalities continue to clash–whether at work or at home–you have to force yourself to have the difficult conversation.

And here’s where our four-word phrase comes in–it helps you to lean into the difficulty, to embrace it.

Notice how each section of this very short sentence plays an important role:

“Let’s”: With this contraction of “let us,” you subtly communicate that you are inviting the other person to join you. From the very beginning, you attempt to put both of you on the same team.

“Talk”: When it comes to settling differences, nothing beats having a talk. Unlike written communication (text or email), in which tone and meaning often get misconstrued, talking and listening allow you and your partner to communicate, not just with what you say, but with how you say it.

“This out”: This final section of the phrase indicates that you want to come to a resolution. It also subtly implies that doing so is going to take time. In other wordes, this may not be an easy conversation, but it’s one you’re willing to invest in.

By doing so, you encourage the other person to invest, too.

How to work together

Once you’ve established that you need to talk, how do you handle the conversation with emotional intelligence?

Start with what. Invite the other person to share their perspective. They’ll see things differently from you–and that’s ok.

Remember that disagreement in itself is not bad; it’s a sign that you can each learn from each other. The key is how you handle that disagreement.

Move to why. Use questions to understand, not just what they want to do, but why they want to do it. Are they afraid of something specific? Have they gotten burned before? What’s preventing them from trying it?

Additionally you might ask: “Can you help me understand why that’s hard to do?” Or, “I understand you don’t want to do this. Is there something I could do to get you to make an exception?”

Questions like these help you to see what’s non-negotiable, and what’s doable–from both sides.

End with how. Now, work towards settling the difference. Using the information you’ve gathered, can you find a solution that works for both of you?

For example, in talking it out with one direct report, I discovered he didn’t want to try a suggestion of mine because he had already tried something similar in the past, and it failed miserably.

Fair enough. He had experience that I didn’t.

Knowing this enabled me and my colleague to focus on the overarching goal. When I invited him to help me brainstorm a new solution, he was happy because I showed I respected him and his experience. I was happy because he was now helping me, instead of challenging me.

In the end, we worked together as a team…Instead of standing in each other’s way.

So, the next time you find yourself in a relationship where opinions or personalities continue to clash, remember that simple, powerful four-word phrase:

Let’s talk this out.

Because if you want to move the boat forward, you both have to be rowing in the same direction.