An ongoing conflict, whether it is full blown or still in the early stage, can cause a lot of stress for you and everyone else involved. If it is in the workplace, you will have to deal with it for eight hours daily. Although it may not be felt much, it does affect the quality of work done. On the other hand, if it is at home, the stress can even be worse as it includes the people who can be closest to you—your family. You just cannot wait for the conflict to cool down and fade, because it may not at all. What you should do is to initiate conflict resolution yourself.
Managing conflict is a tough job. There is always the risk of worsening it instead if you are not careful with your methods. Of course, if you are directly involved in it, a protagonist or otherwise, the risk is even much higher. You will need to learn the best approaches. Here are some ways to improve your conflict resolution strategies.
- Ask everyone involved to relax first. If you think that they are still too emotional, do not force the resolution. Let them cool down for the moment. Do not take this as conflict avoidance. You are just trying to let emotions settle first so that reasons are better heard and understood.
- Resolving a conflict is not about winning a debate or an argument. Focus more on how to repair strained relationships. The main reason why you have to listen to different sides is not to find out what is correct. You listen because you want to show respect, a subtle way of telling others to respect you also and the rest involved.
- There are persons who cannot express their thoughts exactly in words. Sometimes, it is merely because they have problems with their communication skills and not because they are dishonest. You will have to hone your intuitive skills in this regard. Practice listening to what is not being said.
- If it is a conflict inter-group, detach yourself first from any side. By making yourself neutral, you get the trust of all those involved. Therefore, the conflict resolution can start with everyone shedding doubts about each other, a condition that is healthy and suitable for your effort’s success.
- Enhance your verbal and non-verbal communication skills. For you to be a good arbitrator, you should be careful with the choice of words, putting emphasis on those that will not offend anyone. The non-verbal skills would involve methods like eye contact, gestures, and even postures that would show your confidence and honesty. Your communication skills, whatever the type is, should help end any conflict relationship.
These may be a bit difficult if you are the emotional type yourself. No matter how good you are in expressing your ideas, if your emotions consume you, your thinking becomes blurred and your conflict resolution efforts will go nowhere.