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How to Resolve conflicts

By nature humans are an aggressive and competitive species, and this is the reason why we find so much conflict in our personal relationships, as well as at work, and even in our communities. Fortunately, one of the things that set humans apart from others of the animal kingdom is their ability to reason and resolve conflict.

Learning how to resolve conflict can be beneficial to every part of your life. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you solve just about any type of conflict you come across. Though the problems vary, the basic steps are the same.

  • Remain calm. There is no faster way to escalate conflict into a full fledge war than to let your emotions get the better of you. You will be able to think and evaluate the problem more efficiently if you remain calm.
  • Respect the other side of the conflict. This is an important step to resolving conflict. This is where you must remember that the disagreement is the problem and not necessarily the other person or other side. If you show blatant disrespect, this will only escalate the angry emotion on the other side.
  • Be Gracious. No you may not believe it is fair, but is the conflict really that important or could you concede without much consequence. If this is the case, why not resolve the problem this way. After all, many conflicts are really over matters of little to no importance. Maybe someone's feelings or pride got injured. Be gracious and a good person for it.
  • Discuss the conflict rationally. Often conflicts can be resolved if the two parties simply discuss the problem in a calm and rational manner. Bring the real problem out in the open. Acknowledge that there is a problem and that both parties have feelings and views on that problem. Discuss ways that the conflict can be resolved to the benefit of all sides.
  • Be willing to compromise. Though this should be a given in any conflict, it is amazing how many people refuse to compromise. It is very likely that when the other party sees that you are willing to compromise, they may give a little ground themselves. If the situation is that you are willing to compromise, but the other party is not, again refer to step 3. Maybe it would be better to graciously concede your position.
  • Have patience. The last step is to be patient, This goes for all aspects of resolving conflict from the first step of remaining calm to patiently waiting to see if the conflict may resolve itself over time.

Conflict can be an ugly part of life, but disagreements happen and we must accept that. The best thing you can do is not to let a conflict control you; instead you take control and begin by using the above steps to solve the initial problem.

One last facet of conflict that you should be aware of is that the real cause of a conflict, is not always the obvious one. Sometimes the root of a conflict may be something else all together. For example, if a coworker is constantly turning the volume up on their radio to the point it is disruptive to your work, you may think that this person's selfish attitude is the problem. What you may not realize is that the root of the problem lies in the coworker's hurt feelings that you never ask them if they would like a cup of coffee when you go to the break room to get your own, though they always ask you.

Think about the conflict carefully to ensure that you really know what the root of the problem is.

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