Throughout life, there will always be times in which we find ourselves amidst conflict and disagreements. Understanding how to navigate those difficult conversations is an important part of growing up, and it is something that everyone struggles with. We’d like to provide some tips and suggestions about dealing with conflict in a helpful and constructive way!
- Accept conflict – Understand that conflict happens, and how we react to it is what matters.
- Actively listen – Ask questions about what the problem is, what the other party wants/needs, and how to best combine those wants/needs with your own.
- Separate the person from the problem – Conflict is personal. It can be hard to separate the person from what is frustrating you, but this is an important step in resolving conflict. We’re fixing problems – not people.
- Focus on the future – Don’t spend too much time focusing on what has already happened – focus on what is to come and how to best move forward. Create a concrete plan that will help both parties be comfortable with the situation and the resolution.
- Be creative – Don’t get stuck on the first solution that you come to. Spend some time brainstorming by yourself as well as with the other party to come to the best possible solution to the problem.
- Be specific – Make sure to hammer out every single detail of the resolution so nothing is left up to chance. It will take more time, but it will be well worth it to ensure that there are no gaps in your plan.
- Agree to disagree – You will not always agree with everyone on everything, that is why you’re in a conflict in the first place. Try to come to a mutual place of understanding that you don’t have to agree with the other party, but you both must respect each other.
- Work together – Conflict resolution is a team effort! Not one person can successfully resolve a problem by themselves. You need everyone’s input and advice if you’re going to successfully resolve the issue.
- Share your interests – Express your wants and needs to the other party and encourage them to do the same. Putting everything out there is important and the only way to ensure everyone’s happiness.
- Maintain confidentiality – Keeping what happens in the resolution space is essential. All parties must feel safe to disclose their thoughts and feelings, and ensuring everyone knows that what happens in this space stays in this space will make folks feel comfortable. And most importantly – it doesn’t concern anyone else.
If you’d like more information about how to successfully resolve conflict, check out the Center for Dispute Resolution in Park Central Office Building 212, or give them a call at 417-836-8831. They can provide you more tips, resources, and information on conflict resolution.
Tips retreived from Clarke University Counseling Center at http://www.clarke.edu/page.aspx?id=3568