“The better able team members are to engage, speak, listen, hear, interpret, and respond constructively, the more likely their teams are to leverage conflict rather than be leveled by itâ€ RundeÂ and Flanagan
Conflict is not something many of us like to be in. Many situations of conflict create a feeling of fight or flight. It triggers a lot of negative emotions including anger, turmoil and a sense of threat.
But is conflict really that bad at all times ?
Is it possible to accept conflict as a learning process ?
Peace is not the absence of conflict but it is the ability to deal with Conflict by way ofÂ creative alternatives to respond to situations of conflict.
What is Conflict ?Â Conflict arises from differences of opinion. It arises when people disagree over values, ideas, perceptions or even when led by different motivations.
Conflicts cannot be avoided because no two people can agree on everything at all times. Â A better way to resolve conflicts is not to avoid it or runaway from it but deal with it in a constructive and positive manner. Â Confidence comes from knowing that you have the skills to communicate in a difficult situation, and you have the ability to diagnose the situation accurately as you choose the best strategy for the situation
Keys to resolving or dealing with conflictsÂ
- Don’t Ignore Conflicts – the more you ignore conflicts the more it festers. Â Conflicts arises and becomes serious when a threat is perceived. This perception may be unreal and refusal to deal with the fear. Â We respond to conflicts based on our perceptions of a situation, not necessarily to an objective review of the facts. Our perceptions are influenced by our life experiences, values, beliefs and culture.Â If you perceive conflict as dangerous, it tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you go into a conflict situation already feeling threatened, you are more likely to blow up in anger and worsen the situation. Â Taking a step back, thinking about the situation in hand with a calm mind helps to resolve and clarify your position and take an objective view.
- Emotional Awareness – Conflict triggers strong emotions and can lead to anger, disappointment and discomfort. If we allow our emotions to take control, it can cause resentment, irreparable rifts and break-ups. Â Successful conflict resolution depends on your ability to regulate your emotions, face the challenges and be empathetic. Â Emotional awareness is imperative to recognize how you feel, why you feel the way you feel and also how others feel.
- Communication – Listening is an essential ingredient in communication. Some situations of Conflict does cause stress and inability to deal with this stress makes matters worse and triggers a vicious circle of negative emotions. Being frozen in your own emotions inhibits your inability to listen what the other person is saying, be aware of what your real needs are and communicate that effectively. Â Â Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed in conflict situations to such an extent that you are unable to respond in healthy ways. Nonverbal communication in your body language, your eye and facial expressions, your tone and intensity of voice convey your emotions and feelings. Pay attention to your non-verbal communication and those of others. Be it in office or in your personal life, conflicts are an opportunity for growth. Â Effective resolution of conflicts helps build trust in a relationship.
- Give Space – you perceive a situation of conflict when you see that your needs are not met. Each one of us have our needs and aspirations. Â When you hear that cost cuts are going to be introduced in your firm and possible lay-offs may occur, Â obviously your initial reaction is one of feeling threatened. But reacting irrationally is only going to lead to more discomfort to yourself. Â In any matters of conflict never underestimate each one’s needsÂ Â to feel understood, supported and appreciated.
- Forgive and Let Go – this is more easier said than done but knowing when to walk away and let go can indeed be the best approach to bring inner peace to yourself. Â It is about balancing the conflicting need for safety and continuity versus the need to explore and take risks in an environment of compassionate understanding. If you want to be understood, you need to understand. Â Change begins with each of us. Deal with the present rather than carrying old resentment and approaching each situation with a vengeful mind.
Remember as Plato said,Â Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. The human need to be recognized, appreciated and communicated to is key in our day-to-day dealings of challenges in life.
In my coaching sessions, I have observed and realized that listening, and making aware of one’s strengths goes a long way to get the best of one’s potential.
â€œWhenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.â€William JamesÂ