Building Your Conflict Resolution Skills? Consider these tips.

For many of us becoming comfortable with conflict is part of our continued personal development. Here are three tips for you to work with as you continue to make peace with conflict.

1) Take time to learn and understand the various conflict resolution modes. What are the conflict resolution modes? Click here for a quick refresher.

In order for you to know how you want to handle a conflict it is really important for you to understand the different approaches available to you and the best way to draw upon those approaches.

2) It’s easier to adapt your approach when you can prepare in advance. Let’s say you are driving to work and you know you’re going to face a conflict, this means you have time to prepare for it. You have time to think about your natural response and to ask yourself this question: “Is my typical response going to work here?” If the answer is no, well then NOW you have time to also think
about what response would be most effective.

You don’t always get that luxury in life, right? Sometimes you walk into a
conflict and it’s unexpected. When you walk into an unanticipated conflict you can still stop and think before you react. You can decide how you are going to react.

In this situation ask yourself and the other parties involved, “Does this have to be resolved right now?” Sometimes the smart thing to do is to give yourself some time to think and to plan a reasonable response. Just because somebody is in your face and they tell you that they have to have an answer right now doesn’t make it true. Consider the severity and the urgency and the timing of this issue. If you do not react right now what is going to happen? Is the world going to end? Is something really ominous going to happen? Or is it “I’m pushing you because I want an answer right now?” There’s a difference.

For most of us this is an acquired skill. First we understand our natural way of handling conflict, then we become skilled at handling the conflict we know is coming and then we become comfortable adapting our behavior ‘on the fly’.

3) You do not have to resolve every conflict yourself. Sometimes maybe you can have someone else step in. I’m not saying go avoid every conflict. But there are absolutely times when you might not be the right person to resolve the conflict and it doesn’t have to be you.

For example if it’s a conflict with the team, do you have to be the one to create the resolution? Can somebody else do it? At the end of the day what we want is for the conflict to be resolved in a manner that allows us all to move on and have great mature professional relationships.