Last week we looked at identifying unhealthy approaches to resolving and managing family conflict and the basics of successful resolution.
We now move onto the specifics, looking at how to resolve and avoid conflicts. These skills will ensure your personal and professional relationships stay strong and positive.
Managing and resolving conflict requires emotional maturity, self-control and empathy. It is undoubtedly a lengthy process and often frustrating, and sometimes frightening. You can ensure that the process is as positive as possible by adhering to the following conflict resolution guidelines.
tips to resolve conflict
Your first priority should always centre around maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than ‘winning’ the argument. Be respectful of the other person and his/her viewpoint. Remember it’s rarely only one person’s fault.
Honestly assess the situation. If you are holding on to old hurts and resentments, your ability to see the reality of the current situation will be impaired. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do to solvethe present problem.
Prepare to talk. Figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it. Don’t blame others. Instead, say what’s not working for you and take responsibility for your part in the conflict. The earlier you do this – the better. When we don’t deal with these conflicts, they can fester and become worse.
No ‘ hitting below the belt’. Attacking areas of personal sensitivity can create distrust, anger, and vulnerability and heightened tensions.
Pick your battles. Conflicts are not only upsetting and frustrating, but can be extremely draining. So consider whether the issue is really worthy of your time and energy.
Forgiveness is key. Resolving conflict is impossible if you are unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.
Know when to let something go. If you cannot come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.
While all of the above will help you break down any conflicts that arise on your path, one of the most important things you can do is listen. When people are upset, the words they use rarely convey the issues and needs at the heart of the problem. When we listen for what is felt as well as said, we connect more deeply to our own needs and emotions, and to those of other people.
Be a better listener
-Listen to the reasons the other person gives for being upset,
-Make sure you understand what the other person is telling you – from his/her point of view.
-Repeat the other person’s words, and ask if you have understood correctly.
-Ask if anything remains unspoken, giving the person time to think before answering.
-Resist the temptation to interject your own point of view until the other person has said everything he or she wants to say and feels that you have listened to and understood his or her message.
Overall, conflict can have a serious and damaging effect on your life and the people in it. It is imperative that you resolve conflict in the most efficient way as possible to avoid harmful consequences on your personal relationships, while also promoting strength and positivity.
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