Conflicts are a common obstacle standing in most people’s way. In a world where we deal with people day in and day out, conflicts are bound to happen as different personalities and opinions clash.
As a leader, it is important to handle conflict resolution in the best way possible, and as quickly as possible, so that you can grow a community free of damage from lack of communication and resolves.
Here are some concepts to think about applying when you have to deal with conflict resolution:
DEAL WITH IT AS FAST AS POSSIBLE
If you were just about to go to bed and noticed a small flame erupting in the corner of your room, you wouldn’t go to bed thinking that you can just deal with it in the morning. Conflicts are the same – when they go unresolved they can quickly spread into wildfire, and relationships can be lost. It requires bravery and courage to step into conflict resolution mode right in the moment, but it can be the best thing to save the relationship and ensure everyone’s best interest.
CULTIVATE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS INTENTIONALLY
Just like tending to a garden, relationships require attention and care to stay healthy. If you let weeds overrun your garden, soon your plants will wilt away, lacking nutrients and space to flourish. Relationships are the same – people appreciate when you spend time intentionally caring for them, whether that means checking in with people to see that they are okay, and asking what you can do to help them – with genuine interest. People will trust you quickly if you can show them that you are authentic and worthy of a healthy relationship.
GET BRAVER, NOT BITTER
Sometimes we aren’t perfect, and sometimes we let emotions get the best of us. It happens. But when it does, you should tamper any bitterness and resentment and step up to apologize as quickly as possible. Be brave enough to ask the person you have conflict with to sit down and seek to understand why both sides’ expectations were not fulfilled. Do not fear that you will look weak by being the first to apologize – the truth is that there is strength in being the first one to seek a resolution.
DON’T SET OFF A BOMB
Otherwise known as a blow-up, a conflict bomb happens when conflict goes unresolved to the point that the top blows off and chaos breaks loose. Two types of bombs are commonly used – silence (appearing like nothing is wrong until you can’t hide it anymore) and violence (intentionally sabotaging the other person until it blows back up on yourself). Conflict bombs make restoration more difficult if not impossible, and damages the speed of trust, and creates drama that can spill into other areas of your life.
FOLLOW THE 5 STEPS TO CONFLICT RESOLUTION
When you find yourself in a conflict, follow these 5 steps to resolution. If both parties are seriously interested in resolving the conflict, it can be done, however if one or both parties are not interested in a resolution, no amount of effort will fix that.
1. Affirm the relationship (make sure the other party understands what they mean to you and why the relationship is important to you. Make it clear that you are seeking a resolution)
2. Seek to understand (listen without judgement or interruption and try to place yourself in the other person’s shoes to understand why their expectations weren’t met. Repeat back the concerns that were addressed to ensure that you are understanding correctly. This will go a long way in helping the other person feel cared for)
3. Seek to be understood (share your side of the conflict respectfully. Avoid assigning motives to the other person, and stick to the facts on your perspective. State what you would have liked to have seen done differently to help the other person understand your point of view)
4. Own responsibility and apologize (be ready to take blame for the your actions that added to the conflict. This is a teachable moment – take to heart what you could have done differently with a genuine interest to have different outcomes the next time around)
5. Seek agreement (find common ground on future roles and responsibilities for both parties. Unite and strengthen the relationship, and flush the negativity. Restate the common purpose in the relationship and the vision and goals ahead)
Adapt these habits into your daily life, and conflict will become less difficult each time to resolve! Relationships will flourish under common respect and integrity, and your character will strengthen.