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7 Tips on Resolving Any Conflicts Anywhere

7 Tips on Resolving Any Conflicts Anywhere

Conflict is an unavoidable aspect of life, and one which helps us to develop key skills in the arts of emphasizing, listening and negotiation. While the majority of media attention seems to focus on workplace conflicts, such as the current dispute between Walmart and its striking employees, the techniques for achieving resolution can be applied in various circumstances.
Whether you are dealing with a personal conflict with a loved one or a workplace dispute, it is crucial that you apply a core set of skills if you are going to resolve conflicts. With this in mind, consider the following advice for managing conflicts, understanding alternative viewpoints, and arriving at a mutually agreeable compromise:

Resolving Conflict
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    1. Lay the foundations of agreement.

    In any conflict, a potential resolution is built on the foundations of agreement. These are, essentially, the fundamental points on which warring factions agree, and they will often underpin any eventual compromise or settlement. They also ease the subsequent process of resolving an existing dispute, as each individual understands that they share at least some common ground with their rivals.

    2. Understand that resolution is for the good of everyone concerned in the dispute.

    With the foundations of agreement established, the next step is to understand the importance of achieving a mutually convenient resolution. It is all too easy for people to become lost in their own beliefs and values during the course of negotiations, and this will only cause them to adopt a more stubborn and inflexible stance. By reinforcing that consensus on an outcome is for the good of everyone involved in the dispute, you can ensure that each party maintains a balanced point of view.

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    3. Deal in fact and avoid indulging your ego.

    Ego can often be the single biggest barrier to conflict resolution, as it prevents individuals from listening to reason and taking on board alternative points of view. It is therefore crucial that you speak from wisdom and deal in facts when forwarding your argument, rather than becoming emotive and allowing your ego to dictate your communication style. The use of facts also minimizes the risk of creating further dispute, as they cannot be contradicted and provide valid support for your arguments.

    4. Listen to others and ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak.

    On a similar note, it is imperative that you listen to others during the phase of conflict resolution, and ensure that every single party has an opportunity to speak. Not only will this help you to understand alternative viewpoints and make an agreeable compromise seem more achievable, but it also ensures that everyone involved has expressed their views openly. Sometimes people just want to be heard, and denying them this opportunity can cause frustration and distract them from their overall objectives in the negotiation.

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    5. Empathize and consider every alternative point of view.

    Another critical skill required to achieve a compromise is the ability to empathize, as without this it is impossible to let others challenge your point of view. If you can empathize with all other parties and develop a genuine understanding of their arguments and circumstances, it is far easier to adapt your own point of view and move closer towards a compromise. If an alternative argument or point of view leads you to believe that you have been wrong or that your views were misplaced, you should not be afraid of sharing this and taking responsibility for your mistakes.

    6. Understand the power of the English language and use words carefully.

    The English language is a powerful tool in the pursuit of conflict resolution, and the use of specific words and phrases will have a direct impact on the achievement of both individual and common goals. Phrases such as, “Yes, I understand,” and, “I see what you mean,” offer positive reassurances to rival parties, while also validating their point of view. You should avoid using words such as “No,” for example, while also stopping short of suggesting that anyone is wrong or misguided in their opinion.

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    7. Act quickly in the event of verbal abuse or physical aggression.

    Even if your negotiations have been progressing serenely, human nature dictates that emotion can take hold at any given time. This means that explosive arguments can develop at any moment, leading to instances or verbal abuse or physical aggression that completely undermine the goals you are trying to achieve. It is crucial that you are able to identify the signs of rising tension or anger before they manifest themselves into direct action, so that you can begin to mediate and suggest that the group takes a break from the negotiation.

    The bottom line.

    While these tips may be relatively simple to understand, they are not easy to follow through the course of conflict and heated discussion. You must therefore adopt a proactive approach towards pursuing conflict resolution, and ensure that every single party understands the need for compromise prior to entering into negotiations.

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    Last Updated on April 11, 2019

    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

    Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

    I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

    I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

    Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

    How Communication Skills Help Your Success

    Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

    Create a Positive Experience

    Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

    When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

    What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

    Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

    As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

    Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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    Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

    Help Leadership Skills

    It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

    Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

    As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

    Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

    If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

    Build Better Teams

    Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

    In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

    If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

    When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

    Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

    There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

    Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

    1. Listen

    Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

    Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

    People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

    Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

    Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

    2. Know Your Audience

    Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

    Here is a good way to think about it:

    Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

    You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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    3. Minimize

    I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

    He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

    Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

    State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

    The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

    4. Over Communicate

    So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

    What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

    Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

    Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

    Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

    There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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    5. Body Language

    The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

    When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

    In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

    When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

    Conclusion

    Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

    Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

    There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

    Now go communicate your way to success.

    More Resources About Effective Communication

    Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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