How To Develop Conflict Management Skills
conflict Management is a part of life. When there are different perceptions of issues, competing demands for limited resources or different attitudes to dealing with problems, conflict will arise. What is important to keep in mind is that the aim of conflict management is not to have your way / opinion / attitude prevail over your opponent’s. Victory is having the issues resolved in such a manner that the benefit of the resolution is maximized both for you and for the other parties and organizations involved. To be able to do this requires developing conflict management skills.
The first thing you must learn to do is analyze the situation objectively.If you can clearly state the problem, the reasons for it and the possible outcomes, you have created the foundation on which the conflict management structure can be built. Your clarity of vision will have a major impact on the others involved and will make them more inclined to listen to and appreciate your point of view.
Empathy involves not just understanding the arguments of your opponents, but also their motivations. You must develop the skill of listening carefully, no matter how obvious the argument is. The fact that you are taking the argument seriously will earn the appreciation of your opponents and make them more open to listening to your counters. Respect breeds respect. Learn to read body language – it can often give you valuable insights into your opponents’ thought processes and how they plan to proceed. Take the trouble to learn you opponents’ backgrounds so you know where they are coming from. Know why they have taken a position is as important as knowing what that position is.
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The more inflexible you appear to be, the more the position of your opponents will harden. That does not mean that you should be ready to give up one of your core issues. What you need to do is list out all the factors involved in the conflict and all the results you want to achieve in order of importance. Focus on the key objectives. Learn to negotiate and be ready to give in on non-critical issues in return for an equivalent flexibility from the other side. Do not be afraid to make the first move towards compromise but never forget that every step you take must bring you closer to achieving your main goal.
Be open to new and creative approaches to resolving the issues. Often conflicting points of view can be combined to achieve a win-win situation for all. Of course, this requires a similar mindset on the part of your opponents, but by showing your willingness to accept new ideas and offering some innovative solutions yourself, you are demonstrating that one side’s victory does not require the other’s defeat.
Conflict resolution is not just a mental process. In any disagreement and discussion emotions come into play. Try to control yours as much as you can. At the same time, try and understand the emotions of your opponents and adjust your arguments to get the most positive emotional reaction from them. Do not forsake logic but present your case in a manner that will appeal to the emotions also.