Who doesn’t get a bit of a sick feeling in the pit of their stomach when faced with conflicts of interest that end up leading to some sort of confrontation?
Sure, some people like that adrenaline rush, the drama divas, and those who use conflict and animosity to avoid spending too much time on self-inventory and improvement.
Most of us though experience some level of stress symptoms, even if we feel that we are dealing with a rationally minded other, or others. Then, the biggest problems crop up when dealing with reactive, emotionally immature, or otherwise unreasonable person(s).
Fortunately though, there are some methods you can apply that will help you accomplish successful communication, even in the most seemingly unreasonable situations.
The first thing to remember is that you do not need to talk to anyone unless you are feeling calm and collected. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, such as when your boss calls you into his or her office and you need to be able to communicate quickly and effectively.
For now, let’s look at the times that you can control, such as when you know you need to confront someone to resolve any type of issue.
9 Tips to confronting conflict:
- Put the problem in front of you and the other(s), not between you.
- Talk about the problem with complete ownership, not about the person(s) involved.
- Outline the problem briefly, then remain focused on the solutions.
- Own and apologize for your part of the problem, you always have a part even if it was that you had not communicated your boundaries before the problem came up.
- Model the behavior, honesty, and respect that you want to receive, regardless of how the other(s) behave.
- Remember it is okay to take a break if you feel yourself falling into anger, fear, or frustration.
- Listen to understand first, then seek to be understood.
- Try to find ways to appreciate the other person’s viewpoint, even if you disagree with his or her (or their) perspective.
- Keep searching for the win-win solutions with an open-minded, flexible attitude.
Why should you have to do all of this when the other person seems to just unleash their anger or unhealthy coping skills on you?
Well, it’s about offering the biggest opportunity to find resolutions and preserve relationships that matter in your life. Perhaps it will be impossible to find a resolution. If that is the case, you can at least walk away feeling good about yourself for how you handled the situation. Then, you can reflect on what choices you can make in regard to setting boundaries or limiting your time with those who refuse to problem solve.