The global landscape is littered with conflict at this moment. In all this uncertainty, decisions are rash and become a moment-to-moment action without much time for thorough planning to find resolution. War is a larger scale of home conflict, divorce, separation and the various other forms of domestic quarrels.
It is never easy to resolve conflict, regardless of the level at which it occurs. We can never control anyone else’s decisions or actions either. What we can do is exercise restraint, watch our words and keep our side of the conflict as ordered as possible.
So why is conflict management important?
When emotions enter the space of conflict, the chance of both parties walking away feeling fulfilled are almost zero. The reason that conflict management is so important, is that almost 60% of the time, the conflict has a financial implication attached to it:
- Divorce lawyers understand the financial wars between couples;
- Countries at war have unimaginable financial consequences right around the world;
- Conflict at work can cost you a salary at the end of the month
And the list goes on.
When we manage conflict within our own lives and ensure that we keep our side in order, we can sidestep many of these financial potholes that could otherwise be disastrous.
Today, we discuss the solutions that you can use to ensure more positive outcomes are met in any conflict that you face.
One of the most powerful techniques to incorporate into your life is that of Touch, Pause, Engage. What this means is that once two or more opinions have been voiced, and there is an air of disagreement, it is imperative to step away.
Usually, saying something along the lines of “I hear what you are saying, please give me a moment to process this and I will come back to you with an answer.” This way, you have just averted conflict. You have also provided both parties with the opportunity to find calm and to work on delivering the most promising solution to the problem.
Touch-Pause-Engage is effectively used within the corporate space, however, it is just as effective at home. It is a cyclical approach, meaning that once you engage that person again and tensions arise, where no resolve can be seen, it is important to step away again. It sounds long-winded, but it is effective, and can save you from irreparable damage in your life.
The True Art of Listening
When we are armed with an answer, there is no chance that you are listening to anyone or anything. You are simply waiting for your chance to say what you have come to say. To premeditate a conversation in any setting is disastrous. Conflict happens when parties are simply hearing each other and not listening. Listening means that you understand, process and can empathise with the opposing opinion, even if it seems preposterous to you.
To listen, you need to quiet the inner chatter. You need to calm the voice in your head that is already arguing with the other person. To do this, take a deep breath in and focus on every word that they are saying. Keep the attention on the conversation. When your mind starts screaming again, bring focus back to what the other person is saying.
Speak Slowly and Clearly
In the heated moment of conflict, we tend to speed up our word rate, and articulation is nowhere to be found. As we discussed above, we are also not listening and so, nothing is resolved. It is important to slow down your speech as much as possible. Not sarcastically so, but just enough that the other person can clearly understand what you are speaking about. It is also extremely helpful to ask, “Do you understand what I am trying to convey?”
Humans are competitive in nature. You can witness this nature all around you. Almost everyone attempts to be the best in what they do. Sometimes these competitive natures are used in completely the wrong manner. Especially in the area of domestic conflict. The person that you once loved and would give your life for, becomes the enemy, and both parties are at war attempting to see how badly they can hurt one another.
When we remove the competition, we can speak to the other person without needing to react to every word and sentence. Your opinion is important, but it is just as important as the other person’s opinion. With this understanding, allow them to speak, allow them to finish speaking. Once they have had their say, ask them politely if they are done, and then use that time to speak slowly and clearly.
Action not Reaction
Reaction is what most humans are excellent at. We are faced with a problem and immediately go into our modes of fight, flight or freeze. This is why the ‘Touch-Pause-Engage’ discussed above is so important. What is more important is that you begin forming the habit of action and not reaction. When the problem is in your face, step away. There are many instances where this is not possible, but where it is possible, choose to think of the consequences of your actions. Play out the scenarios in your head and see which one will cause less pain to all who are involved. When you are as pleased with the outcome as you can be, take action.
Reaction causes more problems. In general, we should be of the mind where we choose the paths of least conflict for everyone involved.
It is not good to always be the one sacrificing. Your life and opinions are just as important as the next persons, however, sometimes sacrifice is necessary. Especially if it is going to avert a serious problem. In heated conflict where you feel unsafe, it is also better to keep quiet until you are in a place of safety. While it is our nature to ‘get even’ in such a time, it almost always ends badly on one end or the other.
Conflict is never a ‘feel-good’ experience. If we can keep our side clean and always treat the other person with respect – even if you think they do not deserve it – then your side will always feel better than it would. Conflict causes trauma, whether on a global or domestic level. It is important to journal or speak to someone to get the trauma off your chest.
If you have resolved conflict in a way which you believe would help others, please share your wisdom with us on our social media platforms.
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