Conflict is inevitable and a normal part of life. Healthy conflict can lead to positive changes in personal relationships. Negative conflict can be very destructive and can sap energy from everyone around.
It takes common sense, patience and practice to effectively resolve conflict. If you remember that conflict is normal and cannot be avoided, you can learn to constructively manage it, minimize it and resolve it.
Causes of Conflict
Searching for the causes can be helpful in resolving the conflict. Here are some common causes to be aware of:
- Personality clashes
- Differences in values or goals
- Unclear responsibilities
- Needs or wants are not being met
- Values are being challenged
- Boundaries are being violated
- Perceptions are being questioned
- Assumptions are being made
- Perceived lack of resources
- Dissatisfaction or disappointment
- Change of any kind
- Awareness or knowledge is minimal
- Expectations are too high/too low
Conflict Can Be Constructive
While it is true that most of us are not particularly comfortable with conflict, it can be a positive and productive way to achieve desirable outcomes:
- Clarify important problems and issues
- Achieve solutions to problems together
- Resolve mutually important issues
- Find your authentic voice and tell your personal truth
- Ease emotions and stress when you experience one of the common causes of conflicts
- Build cooperation between you and another person when you reveal more about yourself and make it your priority to really hear the other person
- Increase your awareness about yourself and another person
- Develop deeper understanding, empathy and communication skills
Don’t be afraid of conflict that may arise in your relationships. Learn the all-important skills to resolve conflict respectively and constructively. Create the love relationship, family relationships and business relationships that match your emotional intelligence and maturity.
There are strategies for resolution that are available and DO work. Here are some tips for resolving conflict:
- Clearly describe the issue(s)
- Stay neutral, calm and grounded; don’t get involved in the emotion of the issue(s)
- Don’t worry that your needs will not be met or that you won’t be heard
- Clarify what your understanding is of what is being said
- Re-state your understanding of what you heard to confirm your understanding in a non-judgmental way
- Ask others what they are hearing you say
- Keep asking what the other person needs/wants/wants you to know/what meaning they are making from what you are saying or what they are hearing?
- Listen responsively and attentively
- Avoid giving advice
- Offer relevant information and avoid sharing your feelings during this time of finding resolution (there is plenty of time to express your feelings and better opportunities to be heard accurately)
- Be creative and suggest options and alternatives
- Avoid analyzing or explaining the other person’s behavior
- Accept another’s feelings as if they were your own (something it is legitimate to expect when you express your feelings at a different time)
- Step into another’s worldview and get a sense of their perspective
All these strategies for resolving conflict are part of the road back to harmony and accord. The more practiced you become at using them, the faster and more completely you will be able to resolve conflict and live in mutually beneficial resolutions.
I’d like to stress that when you accept another person’s feelings as if they were your own and you step into another person’s worldview to get a sense of their perspective you are not giving in or losing ground. Those are behaviors that you choose in the spirit of furthering understanding and cooperation and they are the ultimate acts of good will and good intention. They are offerings from the best parts of you and very frequently result in creating mutually agreeable and beneficial resolutions. In essence, these behaviors are the way to create win-wins in all your relationships!
Thank you for your e-mails and feedback. It is great to hear that thinking about new ideas and practicing new behaviors is making a difference in your life. I’m heartened to know that you are stretching and growing, and valuing the results! Please let me know how you are doing with resolving conflicts and how I can help you.
Until next time remember…
Only YOU can make it Happen!