We’ve all experienced occasional conflicts with other people. That’s what happens when you live and work with others. It’s impossible to be in perfect harmony at all times.
But it feels terrible, doesn’t it? I know there are some people who kind of enjoy arguing – but personally, I hate conflict and confrontations. It makes me feel stressed and sad. So the more quickly I can resolve a conflict, the better!
Sometimes, however, resolving conflicts can be difficult – especially if you use the wrong approach. That’s why I found Alan Sharland’s article, “Conflict as an opportunity,” to be interesting. He provides some helpful “Do’s” and “Don’ts” on how to resolve conflicts with friends and coworkers.
Don’t do this…
- Don’t treat the conflict like a competition. If you focus only on “winning,” it’s likely that the conflict will escalate and become more antagonistic. And even if you manage to resolve the conflict, bad feelings will almost certainly remain.
- Don’t try to avoid the person that you’re having a conflict with. I think I’m guilty of this one. It seems like a nice way to avoid confrontation! But unfortunately, this approach often doesn’t work. Avoiding people actually takes a lot of time and energy. And the conflict will remain unresolved.
- Do think of logical and practical steps that you can take to resolve the conflict. Instead of just focusing on the problem, try to think of realistic changes that you or others could make to alleviate the situation.
- Do view the situation from the other person’s point of view. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You’re probably not entirely right and the other person is probably not entirely wrong.
- Do think about how you’ve reacted to the situation. Conflicts can be hard, but also great learning opportunities. Try to gain some new insight into your own motivations and feelings.
Sharland, A. (2014). Conflict as an opportunity. Training + Development, 68(7), 60-64.