Needs Matter More Than Strategy and Tactics in Difficult Conversations

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Conflict can be a valuable opportunity when we take the time to do it well. Too often we let it deteriorate into arguments, blow it out of proportion just to have it come to a screeching halt with no resolution, or most commonly we get stuck debating tactics and strategies instead of clarifying the underlying NEED. When the argument gets stuck on the strategies for meeting a need, instead of the need itself, it is far more likely to become a repeated conflict. All humans have needs, and all humans have needs that exist in the workplace. The real opportunity lies in addressing people’s needs.

Every single human wants to be seen, heard, valued, and safe. When behaviors of peers, managers or clients threaten those needs it can lead to very disengaged or toxic behaviors in an attempt to grasp at what they need or in order to push away and protect themselves from their unmet needs.

The next time there is major friction consider these most common needs in the workplace:

Recognition (Seen/Heard)
Valued (Respect / Appreciation)
Belonging / Connection
To Matter

Now in the discussion to resolve the friction, dig in to find the NEED. When needs, not tactics are named they can be addressed, and proactively considered in the future. The best tool to equip your team is to meet their needs.

Try some of these questions the next time to discover the need:
– Does the situation/behavior you described make you feel insecure in your role?
– What do you feel is missing from the [situation] that would make you feel more fulfilled?
– If you could name one thing that changes in the way [problem] has been addressed what would it be?
– Are you feeling that your roll has been overshadowed or that you do not have a voice in the situation?
– What do you need in order to move forward?

To learn more about tools that dignify difficult conversations check out these upcoming virtual workshops.

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