Resolve Conflicts Smartly

Resolve Conflicts Smartly

Conflicts are deeply entwined with our personal and professional lives and may sometimes be resolved by a long shot and sometimes not. Difficult or fluid conflicts often lead to contentious situations. Knowing the basics of effective conflict management is one good way of dealing with conflicts that cannot be resolved quickly, or easily. This also bids fair for a well-defined, also adjustable, conflict prevention and conflict management plan to be put in place before conflicts hit the roof. This will help us to preserve our work and personal relationships.


Conflicts that are resolved amicably have a positive effect on our work, family, health, and well-being. Interpersonal conflicts, for instance, when not managed appropriately, or assertively, can lead to a splurge in eating, abuse of alcohol, and/or smoking. It has also been found that such unresolved conflicts can lead to the return of a latent original problem. One “quiescent” example is — getting into the smoking habit with a vengeance after having kicked the “nicotine allure” in the past.


This is reason enough why knowing the essentials of effective conflict management is, yet again, fundamental for our emotional, mental, and also physical well-being.


It does not matter whether you are at the home, office, or elsewhere. It would do you a world of good if you follow a handful of common processes and put them to work for you and others. This will, in a majority of cases, reduce the risk of differences getting the better of your and others’ emotions, or logic.


Ways to deal with Conflicts


There are a host of techniques for dealing usefully with conflicts. They have all produced tangible results in as diverse as the corporate world, workplace and facilities management, business, relationships, marital counselling, politics, sports, and healthcare. The best part is — these skills can be learned and, with practice, are known to help people move ahead, besides allowing either party enough reason to smile.


Perspective is vital: Research shows that what you think about a situation affects how you feel. Experts also point out that external circumstances reveal whether you are happy in life, career, or not, and how you read the given situation. This will help you respond to a situation effectively. For example, you need to separate a situation you think amounts to “personal” vendetta — something that may have happened for no real reason, including your, or someone else’s, inadvertent gaffe.


Invest in healthy relationships: Our interactions depend on the framework of a relationship model. When relationships are strong and healthy, it is likely that most people, even in the face of conflict, underplay a tricky situation. This will avoid a showdown in most instances and deflect conflicts from taking an ugly turn. In other words, investing in healthy relationships is like investing money in a reputed bank. Also, the stronger the existing relationship, the better it is to put down disagreements without causing ripple effects on either side of the “fence”.


Scan problem areas: All of us have our idiosyncrasies, or peculiarities — enough reason for us to blow through the roof. Once this happens, feelings of anger, unfairness, injury, insult, or hurt may run wild. If you familiarise yourself with your problem area triggering anger or resentment, it will allow you to be aware of what may help them to deal with differences successfully. Though not easy, it is an achievable prospect. All you need to do is to keep on “hold” your physiological response to your anger or angst.


This isn’t all — you need to deal effectively with resentment by way of reflection, not reaction. You must act, not react. It means you need to think through a situation and not go for a jugular, including your own. If you persevere, you will be able to balance your emotions — simply, sensibly, and without jargon.


It takes “seven” to “tango” —


1. Don’t be in a hurry to remedy a problem, when you are the affected party, or “opponent,” or asked to tackle a conflicting situation, or when invited to don the role of an umpire


2.Think of problem-solving as a course of action at a further stage in the process before doing anything


3.Try to bring to a halt the most likely, or existing, tensions between you and your antagonist. Or, two parties — more so, if you are playing the role of a referee. Try to promote understanding between them


4.Remember that understanding is fuelled by empathy


5.Remember: when a person understands the other person’s views and does so with respect, it immediately leads to a resolution of conflict


6.Remember — you need to be a good listener, more than a speaker


7.Listening will give the right signal — you, your “aggressor,” and the parties concerned, will all feel that they are being heard.


Be impersonal: This is easier said than done. However, you can still give it your best shot. Remember, when you speak about the other party, or person, in any conflicting “story,” avoid making personal statements, or assessments about either. Convey what you feel without drama. Example: “We need to figure out something that fits the bill.”


United stands best: “United” often works for conflicts resulting in a domestic situation, all right — which is just the reverse of the previous illustration. What you need to do and say may be summed up, thus: “Let us put our minds together and see what best we can do together.”


Avoid cynicism: Never indulge in cynicism. It won’t last, or take you far. It will damage a given situation and lead to a point of no return. Use your language as a modifying tool, not as a handgun.


Blow the “take a break” whistle: If you find the situation going out of control, just allow yourself, your opposite number, or the parties to disperse — to cool down tempers. Wait for a while, and ask them to return and talk it out. This (re)engaging course of action will help to promote a “re-focused” view on thoughts and provide a fresh perspective on the issue to be discussed by the parties concerned.


Brainstorm to solve problems: Once all parties have been heard, you may, as an individual, or arbiter, think of brainstorming. Brainstorming should take into account all possible solutions — even if they sound impractical. The idea is to get as many solution possibilities as you can. They will all count one way or the other. It may also be useful to remember that it is not uncommon for individuals to stumble upon a solution, or set of solutions, that neither had thought of earlier.


Lastly, if nothing works, allow either party to agree to disagree, or vice versa. Let the dust settle down sl-o-w-l-y. Everything will fall into place — sooner than you had envisaged.


Follow and connect with us on LinkedInFacebookInstagramTwitter for latest HR news and insights


Rajgopal Nidamboor, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of articles in newspapers, magazines, web, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy


0/3000 Free Article Left >Subscribe