Tips to Resolve Conflict Through Better Communication
Conflict is part and parcel of being human and having relationships. It can happen in the workplace, with friends, or with your closest family members. When conflict arises, your ability to manage it effectively can produce a positive or negative outcome. One of the most important conflict resolution skills you should have and develop; whether you are one of the involved parties in the disagreement or are playing the role of a mediator, is good communication.
Why People Fear Conflict
Many people do all that they can to avoid conflict. It is often rooted in a desire to maintain peace and keep everyone happy. This common misconception can arise when they view conflict negatively and believe that it is likely to turn aggressive or portray them in a negative light.
Natural disposition, upbringing, and negative experiences in past conflicts are some of the factors that can prevent people from seeking to conflict resolution situations.
Benefits of Resolving Conflict
Avoiding conflict and confrontation can seem like the safest, easiest, and preferred approach when disagreements arise in professional and personal relationships. Most of the time, however, you are more likely to get a positive outcome when you can handle conflict well without taking things to heart.
There are several benefits of managing conflict well:
- You are more likely to create a healthy relationship with honest and open dialogue.
- When you stand up for yourself and speak up about your point of view and feelings in a calm manner, it boosts your confidence and self-esteem.
- The resolution brings understanding, which charts a new path moving forward.
- Resolving workplace conflicts effectively helps to manage stress and can lead to improved collaboration, more effective leadership, and increased productivity and trust in the workplace.
The Importance of Active Listening Skills and Effective Communication
Learning how to express your views, feelings, and interests well to other people is the best way to face conflict head-on and bring understanding.
What many people overlook is that much of what is expressed in a conflict situation comes out in nonverbal communication. Someone can say that they are fine and that there is no problem, but their facial expressions and body language can be telling a very different story.
Open body language that shows interest, engagement, and a good attitude is a great signal to the other person that you can be trusted and genuinely want an amicable solution to the conflict.
When you actively listen, you are fully present and carefully listening to what the other person is saying. You must also pay attention to non-verbal cues they may be putting out unconsciously.
Poor communication can lead to misunderstanding, offence, and resentment. When people practice active listening and learn how to communicate their viewpoints better, it becomes much easier to resolve any conflict. Listening is one of the most essential core skills in management and when dealing with people as a counsellor or mental health professional.
Top Conflict Resolution Strategies
If you need a more detailed guideline on how to address and resolve conflicts, then read on. The tips below can help you resolve the conflict and get better at general problem-solving between different people.
- Pick the appropriate time to talk – Leaving unresolved issues outstanding for a long period can put a strain on the relationship and the general environment in a team and in large or small businesses. Sooner is always better, but if either individual is volatile and unable to speak in a calm tone, it may be better to postpone the conversation. When people are angry and irritated, it can lead to further disagreement. They are less likely to bring a positive attitude to the talk or to choose their words carefully.
- Be clear about the issues – One of the worst things in communication is assumption. If you are going to have an open dialogue about the problem, it is critical to identify the real issues. Starting here allows you to stay focused on the core issue and not get side tracked by other matters.
- Understand all points of views – It’s critical to listen to each person or the other party in a conflict. Everyone has a different perspective and personal interests that they are hoping to protect and preserve. Each individual needs to have the opportunity to express themselves and respond to the other parties as well.
- Discuss and select the best possible solutions – There is more than one way to skin a cat, so if a problem has arisen in the workplace, family, or friendship, there could be many options on how to deal with it. From all the potential solutions, you should come up with one that you are going to pursue.
- Implement and monitor the action plan – Once you identify and agree on the solution, it might need documenting and action items in certain contexts. If there are any responsibilities that the individuals involved must carry out, there should be a way to monitor and evaluate this progress.
It’s important to be able to communicate in order to lead people or take part in conflict resolution exercises.
Being able to express yourself well can build a bridge between opposing parties and create a pathway to resolving conflict in a win-win situation where possible.
When you can listen to the concerns being raised very actively and not lose focus on what the individuals are saying verbally and non-verbally, you are more likely to pick up on the real issues at hand and find the best way of resolving these.