If you live long enough you will experience conflict. The chance that everyone will like us or get along with us is very minimal. Inevitably we will disagree with someone. When this happens, handling the conflict with a level head avoids stress and keeps the chance of the conflict escalating less likely.
Handling conflict does not have to be confrontational in the classic sense. When someone mentions an altercation we think of the showdown at the OK Corral. Coming into the meeting ready to fight is not the best way to handle a conflict.
Conflicts can occur at any time. You could be in a grocery store and the cashier may act rude as they ring up your groceries. We’ve all had that happen at least once, right? The first reaction is to slam the money on the counter or to snap back at them. In that instant we have taken their problems as our own and created a stressful situation that changes the tone of the rest of our day.
Here are five tips for handling conflict. They work for coworkers, family members, friends, and even strangers. You never know when the proper response to a conflict could save your life or someone else’s.
1. Think about the situation. We are quick to respond when someone says what we don’t like. Take the time to breathe before responding. In that breath replay the words spoken.
2. Make the hard decision. In many cases, the conflict that arises is not the first of its kind. Harsh or offensive words or deeds could be a recurring theme in the relationship.
Decide if this affiliation is worth saving or if it is time to cut the person loose. Leaving the association could result in a lost friendship, a divorce, or changing jobs. Sometimes, for our own sake, these things are better in the long run than staying in a bad relationship.
3. Wait a day. Don’t respond right then. Give yourself time to talk over the situation with a trusted friend. Maybe you overreacted.
Sometimes, a third party can see something that you missed in the heat of your anger. In these cases, apologize where necessary. If the consensus is that you were wronged, then bring the matter to the attention of the other person with a level head not a hot one.
4. Find a solution. A common conflict, especially among spouses could result from wanting to make a purchase that there isn’t enough money for. Instead of brooding, come up with favorable solutions that could get you what you want or need. Get a second job to earn the money.
5. Apologize if you were in the wrong. Just because something is true doesn’t mean that it has to be said.
Telling someone that they are wearing a dress that is too small for them is not a positive way to help them lose weight. Understand how it could be offensive to them and apologize.
Better yet, stop and think before you respond in situations such as these. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes before hand. Part of resolving conflicts is realizing our role in it.
Facing confrontational situations is not easy. But, it is not inevitable and sometimes it has to be done. Learning conflict resolution techniques can alleviate the stress of these situations.
Gregg Zban is a General Manager with Coca-Cola Enterprises and has created a website dedicated to better time management in business, with family, at school and more.
To learn more please visit http://www.choice-time-management.com
For freebies please visit http://www.GreggZban.com