Have you ever experienced conflict? Sure you have!
We don’t always have the same point of view as others, or we may have experienced uncomfortable changes in our life. You may even disagree with what I write here. I can only share my experiences over many decades of living and working with others.
Your perception of conflict may have been influenced by events that were unsettling or even painful. Perhaps you felt helpless or threatened and were incapable of acting rationally. You may have become defensive or angry. Well you are no alone.
For many years conflict and stress were negative companions and were part of my life style. I would get defensive and irritated. This, of course, was a very unhealthy way to deal with conflict. I trust over the years I have been able to recognize those situations where I can exhibit positive control and/or influence and those where I can’t.
If conflict is part of our everyday life, how can we use it to our advantage and the advantage of others? Can you think about conflict as different rather the difficult? Great! That is a good first step. It helps us begin to see the positive aspects of conflict rather than the negative ones.
When we are respectful of the other person’s point of view we have an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with them. Your personal and professional interactions will become durable and nurturing. However, let’s be realistic, there are times when you should avoid a situation altogether.
There are many resources you can refer to learn the skills that can help you manage conflict. Here is my Cliff Notes version.
- Visualize the situation as being different rather than difficult.
- Take time to refocus on your desired outcome.
- Ask more questions and make less declarative statements.
- Seek more information to understand the other point of view and clarify your own position.
- Examine your feelings and those of others involved.
- Seek convergence of ideas. Where can we agree?
- Consider using an impartial facilitator to help examine the issues.
- Be patient.
- Work toward a solution that is beneficial to all parties.
Easier said than done? Many meaningful results take a bit of energy and learning new skills. I find it worthwhile to be content, and yes, even delighted at times.
As always, your comments are not only welcome but encouraged.