This week’s conflict resolution tip is about the importance of acknowledging impact when in conflict.
This is an incredibly important part of conflict resolution, especially when attempting to reconcile something that happened in the past. Often, when someone has an issue with something we have done, we like to immediately find solutions to resolve the conflict. But it is important that before coming up with a solution for the future, we first recognize the impact that our actions had on the other person.
We at Pollack Peacebuilding like to approach conflict from a standpoint of looking at human psychological needs. What we and many researchers have found is that when our underlying psychological needs are threatened (or at least perceive to be threatened), we often engage in and create conflict. To resolve conflict, one must find a way of mitigating that perceived threat to the other’s needs.
How do we mitigate this threat? We must acknowledge our impact. If someone approaches us with a conflict they have, a primary method of mitigating the perceived threat they feel is acknowledging the impact our actions had on them. This does not mean we agree with their conclusions. All it means is that we recognize the impact that we made. It is possible to both disagree with someone and at the same time acknowledge the impact our actions had on them.
If we do not acknowledge our impact on the other, how will they know that we recognize what they are going through? More importantly, how will they be able to trust you in the future? Acknowledging impact lets the other person know that you care about their needs and ultimately helps to bring more peace into your life.