Relationships are tough and if you’re ready to get serious about strengthening relationships you have with friends, family, or coworkers – it takes time.

One of the biggest challenges a relationship gets faced with is when conflict enters the picture – most of the time because boundaries are crossed.

So, how do you address the situation without things escalating and turning into a physical or verbal match?

By using this 4-step method, a customer service rep was able to handle a conflicting situation where a customer was crossing boundaries. See the example below and follow her lead so you can start strengthening your relationships without crossing boundaries or escalading conflict.  

1. Inform. When she delivered, “Sir, do you realize you are yelling at me?” in a steady flat emotional tone, it was received with an assertion but not alarming.  She attracted attention to the offending behavior while allowing the client to save face and gracefully make a correction.

2. Request. “Sir, I have to ask you to stop yelling at me.” This draws attention back to the offending behavior, without engaging with the content of the material.  She is by-stepping the common belief, the louder someone yells, the more blame gets shifted and the harder it is to concentrate on what is said.

3.  Consequences.  Consequences must be measured and appropriate.  “Sir, if you don’t stop yelling at me, I will not serve you.”  Notice that she doesn’t escalate the situation by threatening to call security.  She isn’t willing to make him a victim or to give him fuel to become angrier.   She is becoming non-cooperative, laying out cause and effect.  She is still using a flat tone and neutral body position because there is no threat to her.

4.  Act.  Laying out responsible consequences is only effective if she is prepared to follow through.  The action fulfills a promise with integrity.  Without action a threat only disrespects herself.

These progressive steps allowed this service representative to prepare for many situations with forethought and consistent consequences.  She did not compromise her integrity because she sensitized herself and spoke about situations very early.  You will be amazed by how well this works with teens, spouses, and even on yourself.  

Have you used this 4-step method before? Comment below.