Working through conflict
Whether it’s in the family or the workplace, resolving a conflict is a tricky job – one that no one really wants to take responsibility for.
But when you know that two people are at odds with one another – whether it’s you and another person, or two of your family members/colleagues – it can be a drain on everyone else’s time and attention.
That’s why it’s important to nip conflicts in the bud, and soon. If you’re shying away from working through conflict, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to approach it.
Don’t ignore the problem
It might sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many conflicts simmer away for years because people believe that ignoring it is the solution. Ignoring a problem doesn’t solve it: it only makes it more entrenched. So the first step in working through conflict is to acknowledge that the conflict exists – and to get all the involved parties in a room together to talk about it.
Keep emotions at bay
When you’ve got to the discussion stage, emotions may be running high. That’s probably because everyone involved in the conflict feels that their side is the right one, or perhaps they feel they’ve lost out on something due to someone else’s decision.
What’s important at this stage is to keep emotions in check, as much as is humanly possible. Instead, every side should try to speak clearly and calmly about their ideal end-result and why. Get everyone to use ‘I’ statements, rather than ‘you’ statements. That helps people concentrate on their own goals, rather than accusing the other party of wrongdoing.
Understand the other person’s perspective
Another key part of working through conflict is understanding the other person’s perspective. ‘I’ statements go a long way towards promoting this. Sometimes, conflict happens because one side doesn’t actually know what the other side wants or how they’re feeling. That’s why talking about a problem in a calm and reasoned way is always more preferable to simply ignoring it as it promotes better understanding.
Come up with a solution
Once you’ve got both sides to empathise with one another’s positions, it’s time to come up with a solution. This will inevitably involve compromise in all corners but this should be easier to do once everyone understands one another better. You’ll often find that one side is prepared to relinquish or delay one of their goals, as long as another goal is met – and vice versa. And when an agreement has been reached, be sure to write it down so that you have a record in place.
End on a positive note
Finally, it’s important to end on a positive note so that all parties involved can really feel like the conflict has been resolved, and move on. This could something as simple as a handshake or a smile. It might even be an agreement to work together more constructively in the future. However it manifests itself, a positive end will certainly signify that the conflict is well and truly over.
What are your best tips for working through conflicts?
Silversurfer's Assistant Editor
Latest posts by Silversurfer's Assistant Editor (see all)
- Try upcycling furniture for Recycle Week - September 26, 2017
- Sort your bins for Recycle Week - September 25, 2017
- Does the Sandwich Generation need more support? - September 22, 2017
- Staying active lowers the risk of cognitive decline - September 21, 2017
- Silversurfers Book Club Autumn 2017 - September 20, 2017
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!