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5 Practical Steps to Resolve Conflict That Actually Work


June 19, 2020

Whenever the word 'conflict' is mentioned, it is often likened to fighting a war that is not. Conflict happens in every human relationship be it in the family or in the business world. It is in a conflict that major decisions are made, great inventions are created and human characters are revealed, believe it or not.

Conflict simply means disagreement and because we are human beings with different backgrounds and belief system there are bound to be frictions. Not everyone loves confrontations but it is sometimes necessary to learn tolerance and empathy. Conflict can be messy if both parties act immaturely by refusing to listen to each other.

I used to have cold feet whenever I had to deal with one conflict or the other. What helped me was, I tried not to have a preconceived debate in my mind about all the wrong things that person has ever done so that I don't approach the issue rudely. At least, this would help me be calm when speaking.

Do you know?

Conflict resolution is not for scoring points, getting revenge, or getting the most likes on social platforms. It is an avenue that showcases your level of maturity, reasoning ability and your relating skill. Here are 5 practical steps to resolve conflicts that work.

1. Be a Good Listener

If you bought something from a store where the customer relationship is valued, and you had a complaint about their product. The first thing the store owner will do if you observe is not to prove you wrong but to apologize about the problem you have encountered using their service by 'listening' to your complaint. My point is, always be patient enough to listen to the other person's point of view.

You are not the only one who wants to be heard. There's no point throwing tantrums because more often than not, you will discover that the issue wasn't worth raising your voice. When I was in high school, l had an experience where I misplaced my textbook and I was so sure that a particular girl in my class took it.

Knowing that she was a bit of a rebel, I started yelling at her to give me my textbook. After searching for a long time, we found the textbook among my other textbooks. She just looked at me, said a few words, and left.

The reason I was yelling was the fear of been bullied because most people thought of me as being quiet in nature. The fear of being wrong can make us do silly things.

Speak to someone!

Speak to someone who sees things objectively and can point out if you are wrong or not. Bottling up your emotions and making plans to do something to hurt the other person could be a decision you might regret later which is never a good feeling. Nobody wants to go to bed with the weight of the whole world on their shoulders.

2. Check Your Emotions

If you had a grudge against that person in the past, this would result in attacking the other person's character instead of dealing with the issue at hand. If this should happen in public, you would be shocked that the other person would act as though he or she has never met you while you get the blame. Never forget that there an issue at hand which should be dealt with other than what you've heard about the person or what he or she did to you in the past. Stop wasting people's time and yours debating unnecessary.

Know your worth!

Calling the whole world's attention to every issue is draining. Or seeking for those who would help you hate the other person is likewise draining too. Know when to let certain things go.

Please, pick your battles! Not every issue needs you to stress over it. Don't give away your strength and time to people or situations that are childish.

3. Grow Up

You must be ready to forgive and move on. Remember, the goal is not to win the argument but to see that the issue is resolved. If the need for apologizing for whatever happened arises, surprise that individual by apologizing.

Do you know you that apologies often shut people up and sometimes confuses your contender? When such an act of maturity wasn't expected, you leave the other person speechless.

Create Boundaries

Set boundaries so that such an issue wouldn't occur again. This isn't about keeping malice. See to it that what led to the argument the first time doesn't occur again having learnt from your mistake.

If you are about starting a business, then get all the needed guidelines in place. Ensure you aren't letting anyone into the business out of sentiment. Whoever you're letting in should know the terms and conditions. After all, you still need people in your life, don't we all!

4. Have Empathy

Sometimes, learn to put yourself in the other person's shoes and be compassionate. Yes, his manner of approach was wrong and some really hurtful things were uttered. But did you know that some people behave the way they do because they just need attention?

We can't control other people's behavior but we can choose how we react to it. Also, be careful not to resolve important issues over the phone or texting. Meeting face to face would clear any misinformed judgment or issues. He or she might be in a bad place when you're putting that call across and could say something he or she didn't mean.

No Victims

Don't use the victim mentality to try to win everyone to your side. This act will only make you a trickster or a manipulator. Your goal is not to win everyone on your side but to settle the disagreement. Always seek for peace!

5. Flip the Switch

Look at conflict as a way to learn, relearn, and unlearn how human beings behave generally and how to deal with it efficiently. Don't be quick to write off anyone because you didn't expect what the person has done. Every human being has a tendency to disappoint.

You can't grow if everything was always rosy. There have to be problems for solutions to come. If you want people to respect you, then learn how to handle conflict maturely.

Hannah Udobia
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Writer since May, 2020 · 7 published articles

Hannah Udobia is a former student of the Writers Bureau Academy, Manchester. She is a budding writer who enjoys writing and reading engaging articles, travelling and conducting exceptional interviews. She has been published in Independent Australia, Relate Magazine and RubyPlus Africa Teen magazine.