Conflict is a normal and healthy part of life and relationships. Humans are so diverse and different that one size does not fit all. It is not possible to be in friendships and close relationship without disagreements. These disagreements can help us grow and expand our vision of the world.
Sometimes, a heartfelt apology is enough to resolve a conflict. Often, it takes much more effort. Here are nine suggestions that will help you with conflict resolution:
1. Stress management:
It is important to manage your stress while staying present, alert and calm. When you are calm you will be able read and interpret verbal and nonverbal communication.
Be mindful of your thoughts as you enter into conflict resolution. Critical, negative thoughts, whether they are about you or the other person, will cause your emotions to intensify.
When you maintain a calm attitude and posture, it sends a message that you are available to listen to the other person's point of view and want to resolve the conflict. When you deliver your message in a calm manner, it will help others hear your point of view.
Take your time and remember to breathe slowly and deeply as you listen, think and talk. A quick way to calm down is to pay attention to your senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell.
Take a Kleenex with a pleasing scent on it. Sniff it to trigger a pleasant sensation. The same can be done with anything that will stimulate one of your senses to bring about a pleasant sensation.
2. Control your emotions and behavior:
Emotional awareness will help you understand yourself and others. It will lead you to control your emotions so that you can listen and hear the other person’s point of view.
As you are aware of your feelings you will know what you need and how to express those needs in a way that can be heard.
When you feel like being aggressive or withdrawing, you can make a choice to stop and think before you say or do something.
3. Be aware of your non-verbal communication:
There is a lot of communication that happens without saying a word. Body language can make or break a situation. Eye contact filled with care and respect will make the other person believe you care about them. An eye roll will cause them to get angry and intensify the conflict.
Non-verbal communication includes eye contact, facial expression, tone of voice, touch, posture and gestures.
4. Pay attention to the feelings of the other:
It is important to look at the person you are talking to and really see them. Feelings are expressed in words, tone and body language. Listen to all of these ways of communicating.
5. Be respectful of differences:
Notice how the other person is different from you. Avoid disrespectful gestures and words.
Listen in a non-defensive way. Listen to hear what is important and the things that matter. Listen to the reasons the other person is upset and work to understand it from their point of view. Don’t take it as an attack or criticism. Hear it as their experience not an evaluation of you.
7. Make Understanding the goal:
Resolving conflict is not about winning, loosing, right or wrong, it is about finding solutions to differences and respecting the individual. The goal is to find a win-win solution. This can only be done through understanding what is being said.
8. Be specific:
Getting caught up in “always”, “never” and other generalities only keeps
the conflict going. Exaggerations make a good story but ruin conflict resolution. Think carefully before you speak. Deal with one issue at a time. Be realistic.
9. Focus on the present:
Know when to let go. Be willing to let go of the past and the resentments that it carries. When in conflict, things can be said and done that you will regret later. Make amends for your part in the conflict and ask for what you need to move forward. Be ready to forgive and move forward.
It is important to believe that resolution will be in the best interest of all involved. Look for solutions that meet as many needs of everyone as possible.
Next week I will offer you a method of resolving conflict through listening. Need more help than an article has to offer? Call me (919)881-2001.