I love guest post hunting. And sometimes, if I am lucky, someone will drop in a request to collaborate on a post. This time I am lucky to stumble upon a wonderful website with similar niche and passion that MiddleMe has. Sean is also a newly joined reader who wrote the following article.
Please do go to his website for more well written pieces and add him as I did if you love what he wrote.
Today, for the first time this year, I was back in the training room doing, what some say I do best, and that is, the delivery of training to local government elected members.
Today’s topic for delivery – Conflict Resolution.
We know about emotional intelligence and how its application can make our relationships better and even improve other areas of our life. However, it is not easy to apply without first understanding what drives us towards, or what indeed causes, conflict.
CAUSES OF CONFLICT
In order to understand what causes conflict between one person and another, we need to identify the factors that lead to an “interpersonal breakdown.”
When I posed this question to my students today, we identified and discussed the following causes of such a breakdown:
- A perceived breach of faith, trust or confidentiality. When this occurs, it is perhaps the most difficult type of conflict to come back from;
- Unresolved disagreement that has escalated to the emotional level. Once this happens, the facts become irrelevant. It will colour many issues regarding you for many years to come;
- Miscommunication leading to unclear expectations. In other words, the recipient of your message has not heard you and has made an assumption regarding what the outcomes will be;
- Personality clashes are, a primary source of conflict. We are all different – outgoing, quiet, serious, intuitive, detailed, emotional, logical, concerned for people, concerned for concepts, flexible, structured and so on;
- Differences in acquired values. As with personality clashes, we are all brought up in different environments;
- Underlying stress and tension. A person may be having a bad day for a whole range of reasons – they may have just run over the cat (sadly, I have seen this happen);
- Ego problems. When this person is in the room, no prisoners are taken;
- Any combination of the above.
COPING WITH CONFLICT
The key to coping with most types of conflict is to address the problem early. In other words, bring the issue out into the open. This is particularly important when clarifying any misunderstandings.
To clear the air, tell the other person what you want and how you feel about something without blaming them or demanding an outcome. Men often do not mention how they are feeling. Women often are not good at making clear statements about how they want a situation to be.
If you are experiencing any type of personality clash, find out the facts, not just the stories you and another person are convinced is the case (shame on you social media). Rather than avoiding those who make your life difficult, find opportunities to work together. In this situation, use your organisation’s values as opposed to your own, to guide discussions. You may be rather surprised by the end result. This is what I refer to as being professional.
Stress related situations escalate when we engage in negative thinking. Be calm and understand that the person reacting negatively to you may in fact be stressed out. What we are seeing here is typically a people who often puts themselves under unnecessary pressure due to: how they were raised, or because of a significant life changing event that bubbles up in their thinking, or because they have compromised their values.
Ego driven conflict is the most difficult to deal with because its master or mistress espouses a “win lose” approach rather than one that is “win win.” Rather than let the negative behaviour continue, look at how you can banish such actions through removing the person from the source of conflict. When all else fails, I am sure you have heard the term “perhaps, we should agree to disagree.”
FINALLY, IT IS UP TO YOU
At the end of the day, there is only one person who can resolve the conflict you find yourself in, and that is you. The other person won’t take the initiative. This means you will need to take a deep breath and stay in the now. Remember to be respectful, use active listening and establish the facts. Once you have understood their respective point of view, come up with a solution together 😉
Please feel free to share your thoughts or experiences…
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