This is the third in a mini-series about gaining clarity during a conflict and asking yourself the kinds of questions that shine new light on the problem (links to the earlier two posts are at the foot of this one).
The first two questions I offered were, What is this really about for me? and What do I need them most to understand? The third questions turns the second on its head:
Clarity Question 3: What do I need to understand about or learn from them?
In disagreements at home and work, most people spend the bulk of their energy trying to be heard, trying to be understood, and trying to get the other person to support their solution to the problem. It’s a version of the old 80/20 rule — 80% of your time on you and 20% on them.
Mediators and conflict coaches know to help you flip the 80/20 rule — 20% of your energy on your own story and perspective and 80% on theirs. Why? Because 20% is enough — you know your story and perspective well enough already. Spend your energy where it will make a difference.
And once you’ve helped the other one be heard and made a genuine attempt to understand them, the likelihood of their doing the same for you is multiplied.
What do I need to understand about or learn from them changes the 80/20 rule into the better 20/80 habit.