How do you feel when you hear the word conflict? If you were to write down ten words right now, without analysing the concept, what comes to mind?
Interestingly enough, most of you are likely to pull ten negative words out of your psyche initially - conflict isn't generally seen as positive
and even less often as something about which we feel neutral.
Obviously our core personality, together with our life experiences
, tend to dictate our attitude towards situations which are seen as a threat. Some will come out fighting, others with freeze - (literally deer in the headlights kind of thing) - and still others will flee either physically and/or mentally.
Few people see conflict as an opportunity for growth
- mainly because few of us are taught the skills to deal with it appropriately. The correct approach and requisite skill set enables us to investigate and identify the actual issue which is driving the conflict
. Thus we're in a much stronger position to actually move towards a mutually beneficial resolution, and thus grow through the experience.
Here are some of the things we should always take into consideration when seeking resolution:
1. Firstly, check your heart
. Sound weird? Not really. Before you step into the arena, be very clear within yourself whether you're truly looking to resolve the issue or simply score points. If it's the former - good start. If it's the latter - get ready for a bloody nose, if not now, then certainly later when your opponent yanks you back into the arena for the inevitable rematch.
2. Have you actually investigated
the issue lying at the bottom of the disagreement? So often, people are fighting over something completely different from the obviously apparent issue. Think back to spousal arguments, the wife is likely not furious that hubby left the top off the toothpaste that particular time, in actuality her resentment has been building because she feels he doesn't care enough to pay attention the things she values - such as drying the dishes when asked, not playing the TV so loud or procrastinating about fixing something around the house. (OK, I hear you shouting that I've just used a bunch of stereotypes - but, give me a break, these are hypothetical!)
3. Have you ascertained
what each party actually requires in order to feel satisfied? Again, without asking them specifically, you could be seeking a solution which neither of them actually wants.
4. Once you're sure of the facts
, always try to find common ground - agree on things on which you agree, before exploring those on which you disagree. An excellent way of ensuring each party perceives the other as person with whom they have much in common.
5. Stick to the facts
- don't let emotion hold sway. Emotion clouds judgement. You should acknowledge how each person feels, but then draw them back to the facts - every time!
This subject is huge. There are so many aspects which need to be understood and tools which need to be implemented. We don't absorb this skill from the air - we need to be taught how to approach conflict in a structured, objective manner.
That's why we have put so much effort into developing our conflict handling courses
- our 20 years in the business of soft skills training have facilitated a very real understanding of this subject.
is a South African soft skills training provider with more than 60 workshops on offer.
Email us at info@StaffTraining.co.za
for more info or give us a call at 0861 996 660