Difficult customers, clients, or uncomfortable situations with the boss can leave you searching for answers and looking for new ways to resolve the situation. The art of diplomacy is a skill that requires a sincere approach to creating relationships, combined with enough tact and resolve to find a viable solution for conflict. It is a very valuable asset and personality trait in today’s changing global business markets, and can help a business overcome many relationship challenges and obstacles.
Diplomacy is a skill most often attributed to politician; it is one that evolves and generates key relationships and conversations in order to create agreements, consensus, or future agendas. Diplomacy is a skill of understanding, listening, anticipating needs, and solving problems through negotiation. It requires a high level of understanding and oftentimes professionalism; it also requires a desire to see things from different perspectives, and learn the nature of the topic and subject as thoroughly as possible.
Diplomatic people know how to approach many subjects with tact and confidence; they create opportunities where they have the tools and skills to overcome objections and obstacles as they become apparent. They tend not to jump to conclusions, as the space of time between thinking and speaking is often critical to the outcome of the subject or discussion. Diplomatic people listen when they need to, and speak when they need to; excessive talk or unfocused attention is not a trait of a strong diplomat.
Being able to ‘read’ people is another skill, often an offshoot of diplomatic traits. By understanding subtleties in a situation, as well as personality styles and general communication styles of a diverse group of people, diplomatic people can look forward to productive argument, debate, and overall cohesive thinking.
Diplomacy is not forceful; it does not require, or instigate problems for the sake of achieving a goal or state of mind. Instead, diplomacy creates the all-important ‘win-win’ situation for both parties. It is still competitive, fierce, and often uncomfortable; diplomatic people often have to work through a series of issues and matters at hand to make even the smallest difference. However, persistence and a clear head do pay off; diplomacy involves a balancing act of negotiation, people skills, and a perspective to look out for the benefit of all parties at hand.
In foreign policy making, this is one large area of public interest as we decide who seems to lead well, which politician is being diplomatic or simply unfair, and what issues are at stake. Foreign policy will always be an ongoing debate and power struggle; however, we can still learn many key skills and traits of diplomatic people and the art of diplomacy in general.
Key diplomatic tactics for conflict resolution include:
1. Work towards finding supporters and recruits for your idea or stand on an issue
2. Maintain an unbiased and balanced perspective to hear both, or multiple, sides of a situation.
3. Learn about your opponents needs, strengths, and weaknesses.
4. Work on maintaining a levelheaded approach, but progressive towards action.
5. Look or subtleties and clues of ‘weakness’ in your opponent; these will help you to determine what you need to overcome when re-evaluating your offer.
6. Determine your opponent’s or partner’s key needs and standards to negotiate successfully with you.
7. Create foreseeable and realistic steps in the near future to reach a valuable goal for both parties
8. Listen, understand, and repeat back your opponent or partner’s ideas and themes; this will not only ensure that you have received the information correctly, but that you are willing to pay and give attention to what is most important.
9. Delegate responsibilities of specific actions to necessary people so that you can get to the ‘heart’ of the matter easily and successfully.
10. Set standards with your body language, vocabulary, and usage of strong words; avoid ‘small talk’ in a diplomatic conversation that often leads nowhere.
11. Balance your emotions and with actions in order to reach a positive resolution and create next steps.
Negotiaton and conflict resolution are skills that develop with experience, situations, and various challenges. In the workforce, conflict resolution is a key trait of strong leaders who are often veterans of managing disputes, conflict, and behavior in a team environment. In politics, diplomatic approaches are exercised by many politicians and liasons to solve world and national affairs, attempt to provide resolution, and create new or alternative approaches to overcoming obstacles. Most importantly, the art of diplomacy is an ongoing process that requires a strong desire to come to a viable and sensible conclusion. Although all parties may not concede to all plans, diplomacy allows room for specific steps to be taken towards a shared goal and end result.