Everyone faces conflict in varying degrees at some point in life. Because conflict happens in any relationship, including those at work and at home, no one is immune to its complexities. How we choose to deal with conflict is unique, as everyone brings his or her own personality and experiences to these difficulties.
A conflict is a difference of opinions, priorities, or perspectives, whether friendly or hostile. Because people react differently to conflict, the situation may be difficult to assess. Sometimes people disguise conflict in sarcasm or cynicism, or they pretend the problem doesn’t exist. How you perceive it largely determines the role it will play in your life. Those who view conflict as a threat usually experience anxiety and stress, and those who see it as an opportunity for growth can overcome it and even benefit from conflict.
Conflict in the Workplace
One environment where conflict is common is in the workplace. We spend the bulk of our time there and often can’t choose our co-workers. Since conflict is inevitable, there are real benefits to improving your resolution skills. Some of the paybacks include improved relationships, a smoother working environment, fewer delays in production, increased communication, and improved health as tension symptoms decrease. The following strategies will help you in your workplace conflict resolution:
Take Action through Listening
In the middle of a conflict, you might find yourself tuning the other person out to better prepare your argument. If you find yourself waiting your turn to speak instead of legitimately listening, you will probably remain stuck right in the middle of the problem. The following tips demonstrate how to resolve conflict with listening skills:
Conflict in life is guaranteed and often it will be unexpected. When you are able to calmly respond to an individual your viewpoint is more likely to be understood. No one wants to feel like the other person is simply trying to win an argument. Using statements beginning with “I” instead of “you” is another helpful way to diffuse tension. For example, “I felt frustrated when you didn’t follow through with your commitment,” is very different than, “You never do what you promise.”
Some conflicts simply cannot be resolved without a mediator of some sort, so don’t feel discouraged if you have to bring in a third party. If you are facing a tough situation, reach out to a neutral person, like a licensed counselor or therapist or your human resources officer.
The long-term effects of unresolved conflict are often far more damaging than the short-term discomfort of resolving them. With the right mindset and a little practice, you will start seeing conflict as a growth opportunity, one that will help you achieve your goals and create healthy relationships.