Do you react or respond during moments of conflict?
How do you manage conflict when faced with a difficult situation?
Dealing with conflict whether in your business or personal life is unfortunately part of our lives. Many of us struggle with these uncomfortable situations that emerge with our colleagues, clients, bosses, friends, spouses, and family members.
Each of us deals with conflict and having difficult conversations in many different ways.
There are those who choose to avoid conflict altogether, become angry, and use silence as a weapon. I’m sure you have experienced the “silent treatment” at some point in your life.
The silent treatment is a passive-aggressive tactic to those on the receiving end. It can be considered a form of emotional abuse to punish, control and disempower. The person on the receiving end often will apologize multiple times, but the abuser will refuse to accept the apology and will continue the behavior. The person on the receiving end will feel guilty, intimidated, and powerless.
An example of this behavior would be if you were asked by a friend to have dinner and you explained to her “I’m sorry I have plans for Saturday.” She walks off angry and says “fine” and refuses to speak with you or take any of your calls.
There are some people when in a conflict situation may react with anger, harsh words, or be incapable of seeing the perspective of the other person.
In addition, there are those who respond in a calm and grounded manner. They are able to manage their emotions and communicate in an effective way to create resolution.
I love the following quote :
Our learning of these behaviors and patterns in regard to setting boundaries and dealing with conflict started in our childhood. We may have witnessed our parents or siblings acting a certain way and from there we developed our own coping skills and behaviors.
I call these conditioned patterns that we developed from an early age.
The good news here is that these conditioned patterns can be changed! I take my clients through an exercise to help them discover these family patterns and together we create strategies to improve their conflict and communication skills.
I want you now to think about a recent conflict past or present in your life. It can be personal or professional. How did you react? Were you able to have that difficult conversation? Were you triggered? What emotions came up for you? Did you experience resolution?
Unfortunately, there is no “Conflict Management Rule Book”.
Mastering conflict, having those difficult conversations, and setting boundaries requires doing both the internal work and the external work.
Here are some strategies to enhance your skills for managing conflict:
- Identify the emotion and know your emotional triggers. What is underneath the emotion?
- Know your core values. Are your behaviors and actions in alignment with your core values?
- Know your inner landscape: What inner shifts do you need to make to create a better outcome.
- Develop your self-awareness and listening skills.
- Discover the opportunities among the challenges and embrace the resistance.
To help you prepare and plan for the difficult conversation you need to have and to achieve conflict resolution download my free Courageous Conversations Preparation Checklist Tool™.