Interpersonal conflict happens all the time. We are all unique beings with our individualized beliefs, opinions, perspectives and personality traits. So in a relationship, there are bound to be some clashes, disputes or disagreements as people bump up against their differing personality traits.
Anyone can have a disagreement. It is how each person chooses to handle the conflict that matters. In this article, I will encourage people to handle their struggles in a way that it is resolved in a positive, Win/Win, and respectful outcome. Would you like to learn a step by step way to handle your conflicts better? Here are some tangible tips, and down-to-earth methods for Positive Resolutions:
To Start the process off on the right foot, both parties must agree to respect each other:
1. Decide to try and solve the problem.
2. Agree not to interrupt.
3. Decide not to name call, swear, and use put-downs or unkind words.
4. Agree to stay respectful.
5. Decide to talk about how you felt (not blaming words towards the other person).
6. Agree to tell the truth.
Now for the Steps of the actual Process:
7. Identify the specific conflict. (One issue should be discussed at the specific time….try not to become sidetracked by other issues)
8. Tell what happened to you. ( Your side, opinions, perspective, your feelings). Set a time limit of about 5 to 10 minutes.
9. Do not interrupt when the other person is telling their side. They get a chance to tell their side as you listen and again set a time limit.
10. Say what you could do to help solve the problem. ( Define what you are open to doing to fix it).
11. Allow the other individual to say what they are willing to do to solve the problem.
12. Each person tells how he or she will handle the problem differently in the future.( explore solutions, options, common ground, throw out idea’s that aren’t compatible, keep altering the solution until both sides feel it would work for each other)
13. Each individual states what he or she needs to feel the conflict is resolved. ( I need to have or feel…)
14. Each person stated what he or she would be willing to do for the other side to resolve the problem.
15. Evaluate the solutions. Decide which solution works best and benefits both people. Find Win/Win solutions. (To learn more, check out “The Top skill for productive Conflict Outcomes is: Win/Win Solutions” by Vicki Langemo, LPC, MA. coming soon in January, 2016)
16. Both people agree to what needs to be done so the problem will be solved and they follow through on their part.
17. Both individuals agree the problem is resolved.
18. Put the new solution into Action. Did it work for both? If yes….you have solved your
problem. If not, you will need to alter the solution until it works. Keep trying until you find a compatible solution that works for both parties.
19. Praise, Praise, Praise yourselves for finding healthy and positive solutions to your conflicts and arguments. This is an awesome skill to develop. It will help in all aspects of your life.
CONGRATULATIONS ON SOLVING YOUR CONFLICT!
After reading this article, you have now learned a process for working out your interpersonal conflicts in a positive and beneficial way. The tips are straight forward but putting them into practice can be hard. This is because emotions often run hot in a dispute. Take time to calm down and come into the discussion with the mindset of working it out. If you struggle to control your stress or anger, I have an 8 part series on anger management: “Overcoming Anger, Take back Control” and also writings on Stress Management found on my website at www.suportivetalk.com. You may also choose to book a conversation with me to help you with this process.
Otherwise, this method just takes practice to perfect. Keep trying because this skill will lead to healthier, happier and more beneficial relationships and enrich your life for the better.
For more information on this process, you can read, “Conflict Management: A Practical Guide to Developing Negative Strategies” by Barbara A. Budjac Corvette, Ph.D. and “Negotiation” by Roy Lewieki and David Saunders. To calm down so you can better handle the conflict, listen to Relax, Unwind & Sleep available at www.Amazon.com or Itunes. Or go to www.supportivetalk.com to read about Anger or Stress management.