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  • Héctor A. Venegas

Managing Conflicts in 10 Steps

So many times, we find ourselves in the situation, that we do not agree with someone else upon a topic, upon specific rules or just on anything.

That is when the communication starts going south and an annoying situation is being created with another person, which cannot and shouldn't be ignored.

This is what is called a conflict.

When a conflict arises, we have several choices:

· We can either simply accept it,

· avoid it, or

· deal with it and work on it.

The latter is the healthiest of all options.

But how can we work on it and face the fact that we are disagreeing with someone else? How can we go through this process of solving the conflict and maybe even overcoming it?

Here are 10 steps to work on:

1. Active listening

Listen actively to the other persons point of view. Active listening will help you understand. For that you will have to listen more, than you speak, ask questions and create an attitude of wanting to understand. You will have to repeat to the other person, what he/she said to make clear you are on the same page. Although this is not an easy task, active listening can be trained. Work on it.

2. Explain yourself

This step will help the other person to understand your point of view. And by understanding I don't mean accept, it’s the mere understanding of what you think and want, not more nor less. Explaining yourself requires you to avoid any sensitivities you might have and explaining your point of view in a objective way.

3. First-person-perspective

Explain your feelings and your point of view, from the first-person-perspective. In the end it is YOUR view, YOUR feelings, YOUR experience. No one else can feel it for you. So, make sure you are not generalizing, but explaining how you feel, think, act. This is the point where you can explain how the issue makes you feel and why you feel like this.

4. Different maps

Be aware that we all have different maps of the world and the way things should be. WE have different upbringing, different influences and different experiences, which all define our map. No map is identical, no map is right or wrong. They are just different. If you make yourself aware of this, you will be able to explain your map and accept the other persons map at the same time.

5. Neither black nor white

There is no black or white in the solution. It definitely will be some kind of grey. So, if you are likely to be extreme in your opinion, work on it before trying to solve a conflict. The solution will most likely not be your point of view, and most likely not the one of the other person. The solution will be an agreement somewhere within both of your maps and opinions.

6. Don’t interrupt

Do never interrupt the other person, when she/he is trying to explain her/his feelings and points of view. Make sure to let the other one talk. For that you will have to plan enough time. A conflict is never solved on a short schedule.

7. Get a mediator

If you don’t think you can do it on your own, get help from a mediator. Someone that facilitates the conversation and points out the differences and the agreements. Someone that guides both on finding the common ground.

8. Write down the results

Make sure to write down the whole process, especially the results, both of you have found. To write something down manifests it and gives both a good feeling of having solved a task. It also helps to have a document, which both sides can refer to, if they are in doubt.

9. Celebrate the results

Every achievement should be celebrated. The solving of a conflict definitely is a great achievement. This should be celebrated accordingly. Make sure to acknowledge the fact, that you have made a huge step towards a better relationship with the other person.

10. Thank the other one

Saying thank you to someone else is so easy, yet it seems so hard at times. Make sure you thank the other one for walking down that path with you. For wanting to solve the issue and proceeding with new goals and energy.

Whatever conflict that comes your way, be it with your boss, your co-workers, your spouse or your teammates, don't just ignore it, or avoid it.

Work on it and work on solving it.

It will make your own life, job or success easier.

Try it! You will see how it works!

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