When you’re in conflict with another person, attitude is the one thing that can make the encounter productive and an opportunity for growth, rather than a stressful and destructive circumstance. Remember the following 4 conflict resolution tips the next time you’re engaged in a conflict, and it might make all the difference in creating peace and cooperation.
Tip #1 – Pause Before You Engage
Conflict often causes a flight or flight response. It’s natural that we would want to remove ourselves from an uncomfortable situation or stand up to it with mighty force. However, taking a moment to get grounded and find a calm space, despite reacting with an instinctual knee-jerk tendency, is what’s best.
When faced with conflict, pause to breathe deeply and calm yourself. Then, check your entire body to feel the calm sweep over it. After you’ve removed any emotional or physical agitation, approach the conflict with the intent to find a peaceful solution.
Tip #2 – Look at the Whole Picture to Gain Perspective
Conflict is personal by nature. But, what if you could imagine yourself as a neutral 3rd party that saw both sides of the story. How would you then approach finding a resolution? When faced with conflict, try to step into the other person’s shoes and see the situation from the other point of view.
It may be impossible to entirely view a scenario with another’s background and motives as a guiding force. However, attempting to see the source of conflict as it relates to someone else’s wants and needs can be enlightening, and it may even cause you to drop a certain position you’ve previously thought was most valid.
Tip #3 – Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Communication
Much of how we present ourselves to others – and relate to them – comes from our non-verbal communication. Even if your tone is calm, your body language can be saying otherwise and it might even be perceived as aggressive.
Make sure you pay attention to your facial expressions, hand gestures, posture, and personal space when dealing with conflict. Keep in mind that your body tells a lot about the message you’re conveying and your actual willingness to find peaceful resolution.
Tip #4 – Check Your Behaviors
You might not realize that some of your behaviors toward others – verbal, emotional, and physical – may be making it impossible for them to meet you in the middle.
There are 4 primary behaviors that can come up during conflict which hinder one’s ability to resolve disputes.
- Criticism – Attacking another’s character
- Contempt – Hostility and insults, directed verbally or non-verbally
- Stonewalling – Refusal to engage
- Defensiveness – Acting like the victim
Check in with yourself to determine if you are engaging any of the above behaviors. They make it pretty tough to resolve conflicts.
Need More Conflict Resolution Tips?
Conflict is a normal part of human relationships and it’s likely impossible to avoid it in some form or another. When faced with conflict, a peaceful outcome is the goal, even if that means that someone can’t have all their needs met. Sometimes, though, we do need to admit that our position is not the best for mutual growth and understanding.
The above are some of the respectful conflict management exercises that everyone should learn in order to solve interpersonal challenges and transform relationships for the better. To learn how Pollack Peacebuilding can help you with more conflict resolution tips that really work, contact us today.