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Managing Conflict – Part 2

Managing Conflict can actually be exciting and rewarding. It can be a chance to get to the heart of a problem, rather than only focusing on the surface or obvious issues. Most conflicts have core causes and once those are addressed, conflict becomes an option to choose rather than run away from. Managing conflict arise at all situations be it at home or in the office. Managing conflicts internal or external is an indication of leadership skills.

Some of the steps to manage conflict are:
Analyze the conflict.
The first step in managing conflict is to analyze the nature and type of conflict. To do this, it will be helpful to ask questions. Answers may come from one’s own experience or the partners.

Determine management strategy.
Once there is a general understanding of the conflict, the groups involved will need to analyze and select the most appropriate strategy. In some cases it may be necessary to have a neutral facilitator to help move the groups toward consensus.

Negotiation skills.
Negotiation is an important skill for coming to an agreement when conflicts develop at home, at work.

Separate people from the problem.
When negotiating, remember you’re dealing with people who have their own unique needs, emotions and perceptions. Some conflicts are based on differences in thinking and perceptions. These conflicts may exist mainly in peoples’ minds. It helps for each party to put themselves into the other’s shoes so they can understand each other’s point of view.
Identifying and openly discussing differences in perceptions, being careful not to place blame, recognizing and understanding the other side’s emotions as well as your own can help to manage conflict.

Develop optional solutions.
When developing optional solutions that meet the interests of all sides, one needs to try to meet as many of each side’s interests as possible. Technique like brainstorming can be helpful here.

Develop objective criterion.
When developing criteria for selecting or combining possible alternatives, one need revisit the conflicting interests. Also one needs to keep in mind principles such as fairness, efficiency and scientific merit. Strive for criteria that are legitimate, practical and unbiased. One may also find that it helps to explore the criteria used in making past decisions.

One always need to remember that whether the conflict is external or internal, if we are to rid this world of conflict we all have to start taking responsibility for becoming aware of how we think and whether our thoughts are negative and destructive or if they are positive and loving. Fear of knowing one’s own personal truth or denial that negativity even exists within one, will be the biggest obstacle. Once we begin to understand how thoughts do not serve the world or us, one will work to change them to a more positive, loving stance.

A mind at war within itself cannot experience real love and will find the need to judge another, to attack and to interpret the world as fearful or painful. For this reason it is of utmost importance that we all agree to heal ourselves of mistakenly held beliefs, judgments, desires and fears. This healing is accomplished by making the conscious choice to mend whatever conflicts are within that might be causing discomfort, judgment or pain. The next step, then is committing to the process and following it.