Conflict Management

Conflict Management

Golden Threads Project Worker, Ewa Babicka, has give us some advice and tips on how to manage conflict in your relationships.

In the world that surrounding us closely, we are having all kind of relationships. We value all of them based on our beliefs, needs, and experiences with family, with friends, neighbours, co-workers.

Even harmonious and healthy relationships can struggle with conflicts sometimes too. Although those temporary disagreements are usually manageable and set relationships back on track.

One might ask: “How?” The answer is: You can learn managing conflict skills! Those skills are evolving around three universal focus points of any argument: “Did you hear me?” “Did you see me?” “Did what I say mean anything to you?”

Nevertheless, you will need to start with yourself.

  • Remember that the only person you can directly control is yourself.
  • Focus on What You Really Want.
  • Mutual Purpose. Mutual Respect.
  • I want to clarify the issue, find resolution and move on.
  • I want him/her to see what hurts me, what I need.
  • I want us to be together, to work together, to support each other.
  • I will be calmer, I will pay attention, I will check more often on his/hers needs, I will be less critical, less judgemental, I will prize his/hers positive traits……

Let’s start here with our listening skills because we are bad listeners! We do not pay attention to what the other person is saying. By the same token, most of us experienced inattentive, selective listening, it was dreadful and deepened a conflict.

To manage conflict, try to improve your listening skills by:

  • Talk less and listen more.
  • Do not interrupt.
  • Do not stop listening before the other person finishes because you think you know what he or she is going to say.
  • Do not stop listening to remember what you want to say next. Make notes if possible.
  • Do not assume that you know what the other person means.
  • Show interest. Lean forward, nod, or smile.
  • If you do not understand, say so, but only when the person is finished speaking.

To be effective in the communication we need to know:

  • our triggers, biases, and prejudice.

While you speak, introduce a concern without blame, judgment, or attack by using a specific framework to start the conversation.

  • “I feel……”
  • “Here is what I am noticing…..”
  • Focus on ONE topic.

Finally, acknowledgement and confirmation. Research shows that understanding our partners feelings, values, especially our loved ones help to prevent major crisis within relationships. It is important to acknowledge that messages from our partners matters to us. Especially during disagreement, we can start with:

  • “I care about what you are trying to tell me, please tell me more about it.”
  • “Your opinion matters to me, please tell me more about it.”

Overall, before you find yourself in argument with your friend, co-worker, neighbour and especially with your loved ones, use the guide above to practice active listening, soft start of conversation and positive recognition of other’s values.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I hear what they are saying?
  • Do they hear me?
  • Do I see the whole person, and do they see me as the whole person?
  • Do they understand that it also matters to me?
  • Do they know what matters to me?
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