Managing conflict

There is a phrase that says that, “We all grow at the border of chaos and order”

If life were simple, we would only know order. However, we require ‘chaos’ in our lives to help us to see a different viewpoint. In understanding a different viewpoint, we are able to gain insights. Insights give us knowledge and help us to grow.

Dealing with conflict or conflicting views is one form of this “chaos”.

Steps to dealing with conflict:

  1. Ensure that you understand the other person.
  2. Ensure that you are understood.
  3. Seek the origins of the feelings or the problem.
  4. Write down each person’s part in the problem.
  5. Write down what was done in the past to solve the problem but was unsuccessful.
  6. Obtain collective options and solutions.
  7. Choose a suitable plan of action.


Dangerous phrases to avoid within a conflict situation:

  1. “Take it or leave it”
    1. This does not allow for any negotiation for alternatives to be explored.
  1. “I would not lie to you!”
    1. Creates the suspicition that you may be lying!
  1. “I will make it up next time.”
    1. Implies that you lost out on this agreement.
  1. “You will be better off helping us out on this one.”
    1. Is an implied threat forcing you to agree – or else!
  1. “Unfortunately, we will only be able to deliver on Tuesday.”
    1. This does not allow for any negotiation for alternatives to be explored.
  1. “I am giving you a FAIR deal.”
    1. Suggests that something within the deal might not be fair.
  1. “I cant”
    1. This does not allow for any negotiation for alternatives to be explored.


Bear the following in mind to help you stay calm within a conflict situation:

  1. Focus on the conversation and nothing else.
  2. Refrain from making any assumptions.
  3. Wait for your turn to speak.
  4. Do not interrupt.
  5. Listen for thoughts and feelings.
  6. Take notes if need be and respond to each one when it is your turn.


Listen actively

  1. Be aware of the other person’s verbal and non-verbal behaviour.
  2. Use alternative listening responses like clarification; repetition; re-phrasing; reflecting to highlight the issues being discussed.
  3. Ask question with the aim of getting information.
  4. Be patient.
  5. Ensure that you fully understand the problem before you discuss solutions.


In summary

Conflict situations are a necessary experience within your personal development and growth.

Instead of trying to avoid conflict, use the tips within this article to better manage and deal with the conflict. The quicker you are able to do so, the quicker will you grow as an individual.

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