Do you avoid conflicts or are you someone who speaks your mind? I’m sure we’ve all had our fair share of conflicts. Be it with our family, friends or colleagues, conflicts are inevitable. Sometimes, we are the ones involved in the conflict while other times, we are unknowingly caught in the crossfire. Many of us try to avoid conflict to maintain the pretense of a harmonious environment. We choose to keep silent or turn a blind eye to avoid confrontation. But conflicts are not all that bad! It gives us the chance to clear the air, understand others better and work on our conflict resolution skills. Conflicts are only terrible when they are not well resolved, which can create more unhappiness and mistrust. Use these steps to effectively resolve conflicts without blowing the situation out of control.
Understand the Issue
Do you listen to hear or listen to understand? Most of the time, conflicts occur because of miscommunication! So when a conflict occurs, put in the effort to understand what the other party is trying to say. Don’t jump into conclusions or avoid the conflict, clarify and ask questions! Nobody likes to tackle a conflict head-on, but avoiding it will only cause the issue to fester and worsen with time. This is especially important if the issue has been bothering you or the other party for some time. If you are helping to resolve a conflict between two parties, listen to both sides of the story to get the full picture. The more information you have, the easier it is to identify the root cause of the conflict.
Everyone has different points of view. That’s what makes each of us unique and valuable to the organisation. With more organisations embracing diversity, learning to respect others’ differences will definitely reduce the number of conflicts. Rather than having just one person dominating the conversation, give everyone who is involved in the conflict a chance to talk about the issue. After all, conflict resolution is about airing your disagreements and finding a middle ground. Don’t judge when the other party is talking. Set some ground rules for conflict resolution if need be. When mediating a conflict, be neutral and don’t take sides.
Agree On A Solution
Here comes the most challenging part. Once both parties have talked about the issue, it’s time to come up with a solution! It’s easy for us to blame, scold and talk about our disagreements. But what’s most important is that we come up with a solution so that this issue will not resurface again. Brainstorm for ideas and get everyone’s input. Keep the conversation focused on the issue and finding a middle ground. No more personal attacks, no more blame games! The solution should be dictated and agreeable to the parties involved in the conflict. Once agreed upon, everyone should be clear on their roles and the next steps.
Once the conflict has been resolved, take the opportunity to reflect on your actions. When emotions run high, we tend to speak harshly or say hurtful words to the other party. Apologise if you have done so. On the flip side, forgive others and don’t hold grudges! Strengthening bonds can help you understand the other party better and reduce the chances of misunderstandings in future. Remember to follow through on the agreed solution!
Navigating around conflicts takes time, patience and effort. Resist the urge to turn away from conflict, speaking your mind can do more good than harm in the long run. If you are not feeling confident, take small steps and make progress along the way.