Updated May 31, 2023
Introduction to Conflict Resolution Strategies
Conflicts form a normal as well as the nutritional component of relationships. It is difficult for any two people to always agree on everything. As conflicts are an inevitable part of relationships, one must possess skills to help deal with them healthily. Improperly managed conflicts can cause significant harm to a relationship. On the contrary, if Workplace conflict resolution strategies are done positively and respectfully, it allows growth. It ultimately strengthens the bond between the two persons involved in the conflict. Learning to resolve conflicts can help maintain and strengthen personal and professional relationships.
Conflicts arise due to the existence of differences. It takes place whenever there is a disagreement between people in terms of their desires, ideas, perceptions, motivations, and values. Sometimes seemingly trivial differences can trigger strong emotions and reveal deeply personal or relational needs at the core of the conflict. This is the need to feel secure and safe and a need to feel 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 resolve conflict resolution strategies successfully depends on several key skills.
Workplace Conflict Resolution Strategies Skills
Given below are the workplace conflict resolution strategies skills:
1. Quick Relieve Stress
The ability to manage and relieve stress in situations when conflict occurs is an essential part of Workplace conflict resolution strategies. It helps to maintain balance and focus and keeps you in control of the situation irrespective of the challenges that you are facing. Suppose you cannot stay centered and in control of yourself. In that case, 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 experiencing high emotion and agitation and cannot 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- Foot on the brake – This is a stress response that is depressed or withdrawn.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 tend to freeze under pressure and cannot do anything. Although you may appear paralyzed, you are very agitated underneath the surface.
Stress will interfere with your ability to Workplace conflict resolution strategies as it will limit your ability that is related to reading the nonverbal communication that the other person is sending, listen to what is being said by the other person, have an awareness of your feelings, clearly communicate your needs and maintaining touch with your deep-rooted needs. The most effective way of relieving stress reliably and rapidly is through the senses – smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight. However, every person responds differently to sensory inputs; therefore, you must find out what is 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 understanding yourself as well as others. If you are not aware of your feelings or why you feel that way, you will not be able to communicate effectively or resolve disagreements. Even though knowing your own feelings may sound simple, several people attempt to sedate or ignore stronger emotions such as fear, sadness, and anger. However, a person’s ability to handle conflicts depends on maintaining a link with such feelings. In case you are afraid of strong emotions or emphasize finding solutions that are very rational, it will impair your ability to find and resolve differences.
Emotions may be appropriate or inappropriate but never good or bad. Therefore, for Workplace conflict resolution strategies, you must help others recognize the cases when their emotions are wrong and the situations when it is appropriate to express them.
Emotional awareness is considered a crucial factor in Workplace conflict resolution strategies because the consciousness related to your emotional experience from moment-to-moment or emotional awareness, along with the ability to manage all your feelings appropriately, 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 troubling the other person, having an understanding of yourself and the things that are causing trouble to you, being motivated till a Workplace conflict resolution is found for the conflict, communicate clearly and effectively and attract as well as influence other people.
You should be able to put yourself in the shoes of the other person and provide them support in doing the same. Empathy involves the awareness of the feelings and 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 how 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. Sympathy is a feeling for another person, but empathy goes beyond that. Empathy is instead a feeling with the other person by using imagination.
3. Improvement of your Non-verbal Communication
During arguments and conflicts, the most critical information is often conveyed non-verbally. People typically convey nonverbal communication through emotionally-driven facial expressions, an intense tone of voice, specific gestures, posture, and pace. 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 and what is being said, the connection to their needs and emotions is deeper than the other person’s. Listening in such a manner also provides personal strength and information and makes it simpler for the other person to listen to them.
When you are in the midst of a conflict, it helps to pay attention to the nonverbal communication of the other person so you can find out what the other person is trying to say. This will make you reach the root of the problem and help you respond in a manner that will build trust. You can significantly reduce tension in exchange by using a concerned or interested facial expression, reassuring touch, or speaking calmly.
The ability to read the other person accurately depends on your emotional awareness. The greater your awareness of your 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
Achieving a balance between your emotions and stress unleashes your capacity for playfulness, pleasure, and joy. It has been shown by the studies that it is easy for you to surmount adversity till you are having continuous moments of joy. Humor can play a similar role when you face conflict. Communicating with humor can help you avoid confrontations and resolve disagreements and arguments. Humor can assist you in speaking those things which might be difficult to express otherwise without offending the other person but you must laugh along with the other people and not at them. When you use humor and play to reduce anger and tension, reframe problems, and put the situation into perspective, a conflict can become an opportunity to form a stronger connection and association.
Assertiveness deals with standing up for your rights. It is the expression of beliefs, feelings, and thoughts in an honest, direct, and appropriate way. You should be able to stand for your personal rights or other people’s rights in a manner that is positive, calm, and not aggressive. You should also not accept anything wrong. However, even while being assertive, you need to respect the other person’s beliefs, feelings, and thoughts. You should be able to express your views clearly and firmly but without using aggression. You should communicate your point to the other person in a way that doesn’t upset them or yourself. A model that can be used is “Describe the situation, Express your feelings, and Specify what you want to do.”
6. Active Listening
You need to practice active listening to ensure that you completely understand the positions of the people involved in the conflict. You need to have this skill whether you are an active participant in the conflict or a potential mediator. The skill of active listening is difficult to master and needs a lot of time and patience to develop.
As the name suggests, active listening means actively listening to the other person. To effectively listen, you need to concentrate completely on what the other person is saying rather than just hearing the message passively. Actively listening has the involvement of all the senses of the person and also involves giving the speaker complete attention. If you are an “active listener,” it’s crucial that you also appear to be listening. Otherwise, the speaker may feel that what they’re saying is uninteresting to you.
Thus, for successful workplace conflict resolution strategies, you will need to learn and practice the skills mentioned above. To successfully handle conflicts, you need two core skills: the ability to reduce stress at the moment quickly and the ability to remain comfortable with your own emotions so that you can react in constructive ways, even in the middle of an argument or when you feel attacked.
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.
- You are controlling your behavior and emotions. When you control your emotions, it is easy for you to communicate your needs without punishing, fighting, or threatening the other person.
- You should pay attention to both the words spoken and the feelings others express.
- They are having an awareness of and being respectful towards differences. If people avoid disrespectful words and actions, they can almost always resolve problems faster.
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 –