Ken Ingram – Conflict is all about emotions and they are a powerful force. Psychologist John Gottman believes that, “When you’re furious, you can’t be curious.” When we’re off-balance emotionally, it becomes extremely difficult to engage in constructive conflict resolution. Our victim and retaliatory responses kick in and we lose sight of the objectives. We become less interested in solving the problem and more interested in punishing the other person. Instead, we’d do better to build a strategy to deal with conflict.
Emotional intelligence (EI) is a strategy that can help you better manage the situation when this happens. EI is your ability to perceive, control and evaluate the emotions you and others are experiencing. If we can learn to manage and regulate our emotions, it is easier to resolve conflict. If you are able to skillfully maneuver around your emotions and that of the other person, you should be able to resolve the actual issue in a positive way.
Most of the time we let our emotions control our behaviours. We become victim to our perceptions and look for someone to blame. Why is this happening to me? Why did you do this to me? Things can balloon out of proportion despite the fact that the other person may have no malicious intent.
Consider These Strategies to Resolve Conflict
- Once you have stated your position – stop talking and listen. Select your words carefully. Be thoughtful. We were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason.
- Be open-minded and truly willing to listen. Accept feedback at face value. Remember, it is their perception and good or bad, that’s reality in their eyes. You may not see the same thing from your viewpoint but appreciate the other person and thank them for providing you with feedback because it takes courage to share their concerns.
- Once you are aware of the problem, decide to do something about it. This step will enable you to clarify what you need to do about the situation. Ensure that the goal you set has clear, measurable results. Clearly define what behaviour will be different. Be open about the process and:
- Try to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.
- Make the agreement for change in writing.
- Decide what to do if the agreement is broken.
- How the agreement will be enforced.
Be the master of conflict resolution in all your relationships.