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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 September 18, 2020

    13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

    13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

    For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

    “We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

    “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

    Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

    You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

    Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

    1. Take a step back and evaluate

    When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

    1. What is the problem?
    2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
    3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
    4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
    5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

    Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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    2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

    If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

    At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

    Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

    3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

    Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

    4. Process your thoughts/emotions

    Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

    1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
    2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
    3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
    4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

    5. Acknowledge your thoughts

    Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

    By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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    Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

    6. Give yourself a break

    If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

    7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

    A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

    Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

    After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

    8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

    As Helen Keller once said,

    “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

    Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

    9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

    In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

    1. What’s the situation?
    2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
    3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
    4. Take action on your next steps!

    After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

    10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

    A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

    Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

    For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

    11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

    No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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    12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

    No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

    13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

    There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

    After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

    Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

    Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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