Conflict: A major difference of opinion on an important issue where conflict resolution is needed.
Successful conflict resolution is the path to team bonding & relational intimacy. How someone approaches conflict (i.e. runs/avoids vs. engages positively) will tell you much about their character & emotional maturity. Avoiding core issues creates more problems down the road. Your friends courageous enough to address things & fight WITH you, are the same ones who will have your back and fight FOR you.
Diversity of opinions, thoughts, and ideas is foundational for creativity & positive change, yet difference is often demonized. We demonize a point of view: pro-life vs. pro-choice, liberal vs. conservative, without taking the time to understand someone’s perspective. People often believe they’re view is right and those that differ are wrong (i.e. idiots, foolish, uneducated, brainwashed, etc.).
Unfortunately, this polarized approach eliminates the opportunity for dialogue. Healthy dialogue involves putting effort into understanding anothers point of view. It means listening for learning & understanding while withholding judgement.
You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. – Dale Carnegie
Here are 13 essentials to keep in mind to help you navigate situations where there’s a strong difference of opinion on an important issue.
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13 Conflict Resolution Essentials
1. Stay calm. Maintain a curious tone and positive body language. When angry, separate yourself from the situation by taking a time-out, then reengage.
2. Start softly, maybe with an sincere compliment like “I appreciate how encouraging you are”, or saying, “I might be misunderstanding something ..”
3. Communicate your feelings & needs assertively, NOT aggressively. Express them using I statements like “I feel discouraged and need encouragement” or “I feel confused and need some clarity”.
4. Focus on the issue at hand, NOT your position about the issue, or the other persons position.
5. Accept and respect that individual opinions may differ. View diversity of opinion as positive.
6. Do not view the situation as a competition, where one wins and the other loses. Work toward a solution where both parties can have some of their needs met.
Because people aren’t perfect and relationships are messy, we all need to learn how to resolve conflicts. — John Maxwell
7. Focus on areas of common interest and agreement, instead of areas of disagreement.
8. Don’t jump to conclusions or make assumptions about what another is feeling, ask clarifying questions like “please give me an example” or “tell me more” instead.
9. Listen without interrupting; ask for feedback if needed to assure a clear understanding of the others point of view.
10. Summarize what you believe you heard “So, here’s what I believe you’re saying ……..” or “This is what I just heard ……, is that accurate?”
11. Remember, when only one person’s needs are met in a conflict, it’s NOT resolved and will continue to be an issue.
12. Stay in the present and only bring up the past if it directly relates to the current issue being addressed.
13. No power plays like “I’m the owner”, “I’m you father” or “I’m the boss”. Build power WITH, not power OVER.
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