Defining Conflict Management
I was listening to colleagues as we carpooled to a training, talk about the stress and anxiety they felt because of a conflict with another person at work. I have heard and experienced it myself. You are asked to work with someone on a project or that you supervise or that supervises you. Let’s just say, the person brings out the bear we all have inside. You know, no matter what you say, the person doesn’t get what you are saying and vice versa. Or at least that is your view of it. ” We just don’t get along”. “It’s a personality thing”. “The person hates me”. Even just the first words out of their mouth drives you into the defensive stance.
As we talked on the ride to the training, we ended up telling each other that we loved or hated conflict. Maybe avoided it or met it head on. Well there really is no right or wrong way about what you feel. It is often that feeling that sticks and is the reason we say we hate or love conflict.
Tips for Communication Management During Conflict
So here are some simple tips to manage the conflict by focusing on how to manage the communication so that you don’t feel your blood pressure and emotions rise.
- Just stop talking yourself. Take a couple of deep breathes and exhale. It doesn’t have to look strange either. Breathing deep just means you feel your belly expand when you breath in. And that it flattens when you exhale.
- Decide is it the right time to talk with the person. It’s fine to say that you want to wait to have this conversation.
- If it is the right time to listen, do that. When the person is done, try to summarize what you think they mean.
- Do you think the person is ready to hear what you have to say? Try this statement, “now that I understand better, I have a different idea. Do you have time to hear it or should we wait for the team (or boss or owner) to meet to discuss all the options”.
The person may not want to hear what you want to say. Save your time and energy, if the person is not ready to give you the same courtesy you did to listen to you. It’s fine to offer other times, places and people to be part of the discussion.
Acceptance of what you have control of (your own emotions) and your sphere of influence (how you communicate in a respectful manner) will get you farther in all aspects of live. We don’t see a lot of that currently on the news or reality shows with the worse of human communication and conflict. But I believe more people are willing to be open and just want the chance to be heard. That is conflict resolution – people hear what is said but do not have to agree with each other. Isn’t that what all management is about?