by Sandra Lee Buxton
A new year and a new attitude, or maybe just a new perspective. I decided to make this Conflict Resolution Month perhaps you’ll take up the cause as well. We’re all familiar with conflict, have experienced it and dealt with it differently with each passing decade of life. What was a hot button in our 20s is barely recognizable in our 40s, and after 50, well, who cares! That’s the way it should be, we sort out”stuff” differently and determine what really matters.
Learning to manage emotions and conflict will have a positive impact on your overall relationships and certainly your health. Conflict happens between two individuals (or groups)when they perceive that there is a lack of compatibility between each person(s) goals and objectives. There is usually the belief that one person is interfering with anther’s attempt to meet their own goals, often resulting in a “who’s right” standoff. So ask yourself,what is the source of this conflict and does it even matter? There is nothing wrong with having a difference of opinion, it’s when we meet our needs at the expense of anther’s that a problem develops.
Once identified, it is important to deal with conflict early and directly so that parties don’t become so married to their positions that the ability to hear another is lost.Unless a situation involves legal matters or ethical/moral issues, negotiation is usually possible. It starts by acknowledging that barriers to agreement exists but start with commonalities and negotiate the difference.
Behaviors are very telling in dealing with conflict,some show concern for others and some show concern for self. Obviously if it’s “all about you” then resolution is impossible. If concern is for “self” then discussions will be in the competition or fight mode. This actually is more about one’s ego and the situation at hand has lost its significance.
So let’s bring up emotional intelligence (EI). This relates to the capability of individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions and sort out the different feelings labeling them appropriately. It is said that people who have high EI have greater mental health, job performance and leadership skills. They also have more friends since most of us choose to live with one another in a civil manner.Those with low EI are what is considered a “whitewater” personality, always keeping things stirred up regardless of how it affects those around them. For some very obvious reasons they have issues with relationships across the board.
Resolving conflict with a person who lacks empathy and utilizes poor listening skills is a challenge indeed.But take the high road and don’t write them off without hearing them out. They could have information that you have not yet considered and in fact it may alter your own position. The bottom line is this is a new year, let’s make an effort to have less conflict by making better choices.