Conflict is a normal part of healthy relationships. We all experience conflict. How we handle conflict can either bring people together or it can be a huge wedge that drives relationships a part. I want to share with you five things that we can all learn to do in conflict:
#1 Don’t Avoid It
In fact, addressing issues sooner than later can help resolve conflict before it becomes bigger. Nine times out of ten or at least 80% of the time, the disagreement is actually a misunderstanding that can be easily resolved with having open communication and clarifying items that were said to gain understanding. Also, don't be afraid to disagree! Differing opinions and ideas can lead to great innovation.
#2 Reframe it
Hidden in every conflict is the potential for a tremendous teaching and learning opportunity. Conflict is actually the doorway to deeper connection, growth opportunities and a healthy way to build trust. Don't look at conflict as a negative event or a wedge in a relationship, reframe it as an opportunity for growth and deeper connection.
#3 Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
This is Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit. This involves closing your mouth and first having a frame of mind and heart to listen. Its actually really hard work. It takes lots of practice to get better at active listening. Some of us, specifically the more Stable behavioral style, are better listeners than others, the more Direct style individual.
#4 Clear is Kind
This is a quote by Brene Brown. After you have listened to understand, then clarify, clarify, clarify! No one gets hints, ever! Communicate expectations with immense clarity. And DON’T assume anything!
# 5 Stay calm and focus on the problem.
My mentor used to always tell me, respond, don't react! This is such good advice and wisdom. When we can remain calm and keep our emotions in check, we are able to form thoughtful, logical responses and not let emotions hijack our conversations.
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