A Sensible Way to Manage Conflict

by Chris Bjorklund

All of us have to resolve conflicts at one point or another. You might have disagreements with a co-worker, a relative, a spouse, a child, or with a business you hire. I was at a workshop recently where the expert introduced an approach for resolving conflicts that seems to work.

The method goes by the acronym LEAP, which stands for Listen, Empathize, Agree, and Partner.

Here’s how I used LEAP this week when dealing with a late delivery for my new gas range. First I called to see why the delivery hadn’t been made within the promised two-hour time slot. I LISTENED while the representative explained the crew was running late. A difficult job and the rain had thrown the schedule off. I EMPATHIZED, saying unexpected things can happen. After an apology from the rep, the next step was coming to some agreement on when I could expect delivery. I explained that I could wait no more than 45 minutes, and we AGREED upon a new delivery time. Through PARTNERING, we accomplished our common goal of getting the range into my garage that afternoon.

LEAP eliminates a lot of frustration around dealing with conflicts and works in many different situations. Try it and see if you like it as much as I do.