Dealing with conflict is hardly ever easy, but there are healthy and productive ways of getting through it. Conflict resolution goes to the heart of your communication skills. This means that it’s something that might come naturally to some people, while others will struggle.
The good news is that you can strengthen your skills in this area. With some effort on your part, you can make your life easier as well as communicate on a deeper level with those around you.
Here are a few strategies you can use to better deal with conflict:
1. Recognize differing opinions. Conflict generally arises when people fail to recognize or understand a differing opinion in another person.
• If you’re mediating a conflict between two people, tell them to put themselves in the other person’s shoes.
• If you’re in the middle of a conflict, take the time to truly listen to what the other person is saying and try to see where they’re coming from in the situation.
2. Work on communication. How many times have you found yourself dealing with conflict because of a miscommunication issue? Communicating effectively in the first place prevents many conflicts from ever developing.
• Remember that communication is a two way street, so practice both your verbal and listening skills.
3. Allow everyone to speak. It’s vital that everyone involved in the conflict has a chance to speak. There will be no true resolution if everyone’s needs are not heard and met. It would turn out to be a band-aid solution and only a matter of time before the conflict reared its ugly head once again.
4. Stay calm. This is one of the most important keys to expressing yourself in a healthy fashion. When conflicts arise, things can get quickly heated if you don’t make a conscious effort to stay calm. Emotions start flying and you may say something you later regret.
• If telling yourself to stay calm isn’t effective, take a break and let emotions cool down before you return to any conflict resolution.
5. Talk about mistakes. Everyone knows that people make mistakes because it’s human nature. However, it also seems to be human nature to fight acceptance of those mistakes. Conflicts often arise from mistakes, so it’s best to be upfront about them.
• Identify the mistake that led to the conflict.
• What was the intention behind the mistake? In many cases, the person causing the mistake didn’t intend for it to happen.
• Work on forgiveness and setting things right again.
6. Discuss resolution. Every conflict needs a solution. The best resolutions involve a win-win scenario for everyone. However, remember that everyone may not be completely happy with the solution. In this case, ensure that everyone at least accepts the compromise and is at peace with it.
7. Learn from it. Resolving conflicts can result in some valuable life lessons. Discuss what each of you has learned from this conflict, and then leave it behind to move forward to better things.
Once a conflict has been resolved in a healthy manner, it’s good to identify the steps you took in order to achieve a resolution. Your successful process may help you in the future when you need to manage conflict again.