Introduction to Conflict Resolution Strategies
Conflicts form a normal as well as the healthy component of relationships. It is difficult for any two persons to agree on all the things at all times. As conflicts are an inevitable part of relationships, it is important to possess skills that will help in dealing with these conflicts in a healthy way. If the conflicts are not managed in a proper way they can cause significant harm to the relationship. On the contrary, if the Workplace conflict resolution strategies are done in a way that is positive and respectful, it provides an opportunity to grow and ultimately strengthens the bond that exists between the two persons involved in the conflict. By learning the skills that are needed for resolving the conflicts in a successful way, the personal, as well as the professional relationships, can be kept going and also made strong.
Conflicts arise due to the existence of differences. It takes place whenever there is a disagreement between the people in terms of their desires, ideas, perceptions, motivations, and values. At times such differences may appear to be trivial but when strong feelings are triggered by the conflict, a deeply personal, as well as the relational need, forms the core of the issue. This is the need to feel secure and safe and a need for feeling valued and respected. Conflicts generally arise in organizations when people are under stress. For instance, when changes occur on the horizon or the looming deadlines put everyone under pressure.
The ability to conflict resolution strategies successfully and resolving them is dependent on a number of key skills.
Workplace Conflict Resolution Strategies Skills
Given below are the workplace conflict resolution strategies skills:
1. Quick Relieve Stress
The ability to manage as well as relieve stress in situations when conflict takes place is an important part of Workplace conflict resolution strategies. It helps to maintain balance, focus, keeps you in control of the situation irrespective of the challenges that you are facing. If you lack the ability to stay centered and being in control of yourself, there is a probability that you may become emotionally overwhelmed by situations that are challenging and involve conflicts. This will prevent you from responding in healthy ways to the situation.
According to psychologist Connie Lillas, people who are overwhelmed by stress may respond in three common ways:
- Foot on the gas – This is an agitated or angry stress response. You are overly emotional, keyed up, heated up and are not able to sit still.
- Foot on the brake – This is a stress response that is depressed or withdrawn. You space out, shut down, and do not show much emotion or energy.
- Foot on both gas and brake – This is a stress response that is frozen and tense. You show a tendency to freeze under pressure and are unable to do anything. You appear to be paralyzed and below the surface, you are very much agitated.
Stress will interfere with your ability of Workplace conflict resolution strategies as it will limit your ability that is related to reading the nonverbal communication that is being sent by the other person, listen to what is being actually said by the other person, have awareness of your own feelings, communicating your needs in a clear way and maintaining touch with your needs that are deep-rooted.
The most effective way of relieving stress reliably as well as rapidly is by means of the senses – smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight. However, every person has a different way of responding to sensory inputs and therefore you need to find out the things which are soothing for you.
2. Emotional Awareness or Empathy
It is very essential to have an understanding and recognition of your emotions as well as the emotions of others. Emotional awareness holds the key to understand yourself as well as others. If you are not aware of your feelings or the reasons as to why you feel that way, you will not have the ability to communicate in an effective way or to resolve disagreements. Even though knowing your own feelings may sound to be simple, several people make an attempt to sedate or ignore stronger emotions such as fear, sadness, and anger. However, the ability of a person to handle the conflicts is dependent on maintaining a link with such feelings. In case you are afraid of the emotions that are strong or in case you emphasize finding solutions that are very rational, it will impair your ability to find and resolving differences.
Emotions may be appropriate or inappropriate but they are never good or bad. Therefore, for Workplace conflict resolution strategies, it is vital that you help others to recognize the cases when their emotions are inappropriate and the situations when it is appropriate to express those emotions.
Emotional awareness is considered to be a crucial factor to Workplace conflict resolution strategies because of the consciousness related to your emotional experience from moment-to-moment or emotional awareness along with the ability to manage all your feelings in a way that is appropriate forms the basis of the process of communication which helps in Workplace conflict strategies resolution. Emotional awareness assists the person in having an understanding of the things that are actually troubling the other person, having an understanding of yourself and the things that are actually causing trouble to you, be motivated till a Workplace conflict resolution is found for the conflict, communicate in a clear and effective way and attract as well as influence other people.
You should have the ability to put yourself in the shoes of the other person and also provide them support in doing the same. Empathy simply involves the awareness regarding the feelings as well as the emotions of the other person. Empathy forms an essential element of Emotional Intelligence which is the association between others and the self as this is the way in which we as individuals gain an understanding of what is being experienced by the other person in a manner as it is being felt by ourselves. Empathy moves beyond sympathy which may be thought of as a feeling for another person. Empathy is rather a feeling with the other person by using imagination.
3. Improvement of your Non-verbal Communication
The most crucial information that is exchanged at the time of arguments, as well as conflicts, are usually communicated in a nonverbal way. Nonverbal communication is usually conveyed through the use of facial expressions that are driven emotionally, an intensity of voice, tone, pace, gesture, and posture. Wordless communication is the most important communication. In circumstances when people are upset over something, the words used by them rarely help to convey the issues as well as the needs that lie at the core of the problem. When a person listens to what is being felt along with what is being said, the connection to his or her own needs as well as emotions is deeper and also to those of the other person. Listening in such a manner also provides personal strength, information and also makes it simpler for the other person to listen to him or her.
When you are in the midst of a conflict, it helps to pay attention to the nonverbal communication of the other person as in that way you can find out what the other person is actually trying to say. This will not only make you reach the root of the problem but also help you to respond in a manner that will build trust. A tense exchange can be relaxed to a large extent by a concerned or interested facial expression, a reassuring touch, or a calm tone of voice.
The ability to read the other person accurately is dependent on your own emotional awareness. The greater awareness that you have regarding your own emotions, the simpler it will become for you to figure out the wordless clues that go a long way in revealing what the other person is feeling.
4. Make use of Humour and also Play to Handle Challenges
Once a balance has been formed between emotion and stress, your capacity for playfulness, pleasure as well as joy is unleashed. It has been shown by the studies that it is easy for you to surmount adversity till you are having you continuous moments of joy. A similar role is played by humor when you face conflict. You might avoid a number of confrontations as well as resolve disagreements and arguments by communicating in a manner that is humorous. Humour has the capacity to assist you in speaking those things which might be difficult to express otherwise without causing offense to the other person but is very essential that you laugh along with the other people and not at them. The conflict may actually turn out to be an opportunity for forming a greater association and connectivity, when the use of humor, as well as play, is made for reducing anger and tension, reframing problems, and putting the situation into perspective.
Assertiveness deals with standing up for your own rights. It is the expression of beliefs, feelings, and thoughts in a way that is honest, direct, and appropriate. You should be able to stand for your personal rights or the rights of other people in a manner that is positive and calm, is not aggressive. You should also not accept anything wrong. However, even while being assertive you need to give respect to the beliefs, feelings, and thoughts of the other person. You should have the ability to express your views in a clear and firm manner but without the use of aggression. Your point should be put across to the other person without upsetting the other person or upsetting yourself. A model that can be used is “Describe the situation, Express your feelings and Specify what you want doing”.
6. Active Listening
Active listening needs to be practiced for ensuring that you have a complete understanding of the position of the persons who are involved in the conflict. This skill is required irrespective of the fact that you are an active participant in the conflict or a potential mediator. The skill of active listening is difficult to master and it needs a lot of time as well as patience to develop this skill.
As the name suggests, active listening means listening to the other person actively. This means concentrating completely on what is being said by the other person instead of just “hearing” in a passive way to the message which the speaker is trying to convey. Actively listening has the involvement of all the senses of the person and also involves giving the speaker complete attention. It is very vital that the person who is an “active listener” is also “observed” to be listening otherwise the speaker might get the feeling that whatever he is speaking about is not interesting to the listener.
Thus, for Workplace conflict resolution strategies successfully, you will need to learn as well as practice the skills mentioned above. The two core skills which are needed are the ability to reduce stress quickly within a moment and the ability to remain comfortable with your own emotions so that you are able to react in ways that are constructive even if you are in the middle of an argument or in the midst of a perceived attack.
The ability to Workplace conflict strategies resolution is hence, dependent on your ability of:
- Managing stress quickly and also remaining calm and alert at the same time. Staying calm helps you to read as well as interpret communication which is verbal and nonverbal.
- Controlling your behavior and emotions. When you have control over your emotions, it is easy for you to communicate your needs without punishing, fighting or threatening the other person.
- Paying attention to the words spoken as well as the feelings that are expressed by the other people.
- Having awareness of and being respectful towards the differences. The problems can almost always be resolved faster if words and actions that are disrespectful are avoided.
This is a guide to Conflict Resolution Strategies. Here we discuss the introduction and workplace conflict resolution strategies skills. You can also look at the following articles to learn more –
- Conflict Management
- Organizational Conflicts- What are they?
- Types of Organizational Conflicts
- 10 Ways of Communicating Ideas Effectively