Conflict is a normal and natural aspect of relationships. As human beings we are ready to respond to stress by “fight” or “flight”. Often none of these solutions is appropriate. That is why we must find a direct way to deal with a conflict that is respectful and diplomatic. Some people are afraid of conflicts and run away for a long time, which can lead to emotional and health problems. If managed effectively, conflicts can be an opportunity for learning, growth and positive change.
Here are 9 tips that will help you deal with conflicts more effectively.
Avoid behaviors that pour oil into the fire.
Physical or verbal abuse is never desirable. During a conflict you must avoid criticism (attacking the character of the person); contempt (insults and non-verbal hostility); and defence (seeing yourself as a victim).
Realize your own nonverbal communication.
Since a lot of the communication is non-verbal, you need to be aware of facial expressions, hand gestures and body language to make sure you’re sending the right message.
Stop and ground.
Stop everything and breathe deeply. Breathe in through your nose, fill your stomach and breathe out through the mouth. This will calm you down. Stretching is a good way to quickly release tension and achieve physical comfort and a neutral posture.
Take responsibility for yourself.
Take responsibility for your own bad behavior. This is not a sign of weakness, but rather shows awareness and integrity and is likely to speed up successful resolution. Make sincere and timely excuses.
The ability to show that you understand how the other person feels is perhaps the most powerful communication skill. It allows the person to feel heard and distract the conflict. You do not have to agree with their point of view, but you can show that you understand their feelings: “I understand that it upsets you.”
Focus on what you can control and release the rest.
Author Wayne Dyer says: “How people treat you is their karma. How you respond – yours.” You can control your own behavior and reaction, but not the behavior of others. You can advocate for yourself in the context of a relationship, and if resolution cannot be reached, you can master yourself to change the boundaries of that relationship or perhaps even finish it.
Be open and flexible.
Listen and really hear the other person. Ask questions to gather information that will make it clearer. Consider other views or solutions. Look for a compromise or solution that is beneficial for both sides.
Use an assertive communication.
Avoid being passive, aggressive or passive-aggressive. Ask for what you need, say ‘’no’’ to what you can’t do and be open to negotiations and compromises. Express your feelings in a clear, direct and appropriate way. Whenever possible communicate directly, face to face, not through emails or text messages where misunderstandings occur.
Nelson Mandela says: “Dissatisfaction is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” Recognize that people come to our lives for a reason, even if negative experiences are growth opportunities. Be thankful for your valuable experience, work for acceptance, forgive and let go of the past. Consciously choose how you want to move forward.
What else would you recommend for an effective conflict resolution?