4. Prevent. You may be able to anticipate the potential conflict and take action to prevent it before it even occurs. This strategy is different than “avoid” or “walk away” because you are being proactive. It is preemptive resolution! When you prevent a potential conflict, you are better able to develop high quality solutions, and demonstrate great leadership qualities. Here are a few ideas to prevent conflict:
Don’t allow a minor argument to turn into a big one. This means you have to be able to step back, analyze your emotions and make the commitment to find a solution to what is bothering you and the other person.
Analyze expectations in advance. Conflicts often develop when someone’s expectations aren’t met. If communication with someone is getting rough, take a step back and try to determine what the other person expected that didn’t happen.
Recognize that the other person is looking at the world with different perceptions than you are. Everyone sees things a little differently based on their background, personality and culture, and if this isn’t understood, then you may not be able to prevent conflict.
Recognize that mistakes happen. Sometimes, people just make unintended mistakes. Before blowing up, do a reality check and ask yourself if what is bothering you could be the result of a mistake on either yours or the other person’s part. If you made a mistake, apologize and work toward correcting it. If it is the mistake of the other party, identify it objectively and work toward correcting the mistake and preventing a conflict.
5. Resolve. Finally, if you can’t walk away from or prevent the conflict altogether, you must take the action you need to investigate the source, use problem solving skills, and try to find a solution that works. By taking the initiative to resolve conflicts when they arise, you reduce stress, create positive rather than negative energy, and improve your relationships. Here are a few ideas to help resolve conflict:
Commit to working it out. A positive impact will instantly result when you promise to find a resolution. It can turn a negative situation positive immediately.
Ask Questions. Most of the time, the conflict resulted because of poor communication. As part of your goal to resolve the conflict, ask lots of questions. This will help to get to the root of the conflict and resolve it much more quickly.
Eliminate the E’s. Do not allow exaggerations, embellishments, or egos to get in the way of working toward a resolution.
Excerpted from Developing Patience and Perseverance in an Impatient World available on Amazon.com in paperback or as a Kindle download.