Managing Conflicts Effectively
Most conflicts begin by lack of communication. One person misunderstands another and the conflict begins. It can happen in personal situations, at work or with friends and family. Sometimes, the anger and frustration that occurs during conflicts cause problems that aren’t easily resolved.
Here are some things you need to remember when faced with a conflict – at work or personal:
- Define the conflict. Acknowledge that a problem occurred and try to know why it happened. Meet with the person who has the conflict with you and be open about how you feel.
- Respect the other person’s feelings. Really listen to the other person and let them express hurt feelings or anger which usually occurs with conflict.
- Are there buried wants or needs? The conflict might not be about the initial clash at all, but come from deep seated needs or wants that aren’t being fulfilled.
- Find something you can both agree on. It’s important that you have common things you can agree with, even though they may seem small in nature. It’s a beginning to resolve the conflict.
- Resolve to meet and discuss actions taken. At least one follow-up meeting should be scheduled so that each person in the conflict can weigh in on how they now feel about the conflict.
- Decide what you must do if a resolution isn’t found. If the conflict comes from feelings that are deeply buried, counseling may be needed to fully get over an issue.
It takes skills to communicate with others – especially those you’re having conflicts with. One way to resolution is to keep the lines of communication open at all times and encourage discussion whenever needed.
Rather than taking a passive or aggressive stand on the conflict, use assertiveness skills to calm the situation and let the other person(s) involved know you’re listening and are interested in resolving the conflict.
This may be difficult at first – especially if you have an aggressive personality. Remember that when you show anger and resentment about the conflict, you’re only driving away the person and he or she will be even more reluctant to talk to you and resolve the problem.
Passive personalities tend to say nothing and keep all the emotions about a conflict buried inside. This isn’t a good idea because the person may harbor intense resentment toward the other person and the relationship may suffer as a result.
Assertiveness skills can help you see deeper into any conflict you may have and to find out more about yourself in the process.