Skip to content

Software Development Engineer: Conflict Management

1 min

An essential soft skill of an effective Software Development Engineer (SDE) is the ability to lead constructive dialogue and resolve conflicts - when there are inevitably differences in opinion.

Below I am sharing 5 tips to develop this skillset:

1️⃣ Keep an Open Mind: Open mindedness is a critical part of having a constructive dialogue process. Be receptive to listening to others' point of view fully - and suspending judgment until the end. If we walk into a meeting with a pre-conceived position, we are less likely to hear and understand others' point of view.

2️⃣ Be Inclusive and Moderate the Conversation: Ensure that everyone is included in the conversation. When needed step-in to ensure no single person dominates the conversation and encouraging those that are not actively participating to weigh in. The more inclusive the dialogue is, the better the outcome and the collective ownership of that outcome.

3️⃣ Practice and Encourage Active Listening: When we listen actively we listen to understand rather than to respond - which enables us to develop a deeper understanding of the topic at hand. Post 1 of this series covered the topic of Active Listening in more details (see link below).

4️⃣ Separate Ideas from People: As ideas surface, discuss them and build upon them independently of who proposed them. Separating out ideas from people helps us reduce subjectivity, and pivots the conversation from non-constructive personal conflict to the core member.

5️⃣ Summarize for Synthesis and common Understanding: Summarizing what is being discussed regularly through the course of the discussion helps ensure a common understanding and forms a basis upon which these ideas can be further developed.

This post is the last part of a four-part mini-series I am collaborating with Essam Fahmi on, covering essential soft skills of effective SDEs. This series is inspired by the book 14 Habits of Highly Productive Developers by Zeno Rocha.