Disagreements are Not Stop Signs
Disagreements, in general, are inevitable. It’s human to have an opinion, and your opinion will eventually differ strongly from someone else. However, you don’t have to let conflicting opinions damage your personal or work relationships. You can manage and resolve most differences with calm and reason, as long as you’re willing to accept some hard truths about yourself and your beliefs. The following are five conflict resolution tips, used by Harvard Law School’s Negotiations Program, that help you gain some insight into yourself -- and others.
It’s Not “Us Versus Them”
Creating an "us versus them" mentality can be tempting. The side you're on can feel more like a team when other people are considered outsiders or the enemy. Unfortunately, creating an us versus them mentality puts everyone at a disadvantage. Groups who think of others as the enemy typically have an inaccurate view of the other side, which can lead to further anger and division.
Conflict resolution has to start with a desire to create a sense of unity for everyone. Establish common goals that you have with the people you disagree with. Attempt to build bridges and find similarities between each other. The more collaboration there is from the beginning, the more successful you will be at managing conflicts.
Avoid Ultimatums and Threats
In the heat of the moment, it's easy to demand ultimatums and try to make the other person angrier. And though it might feel powerful to do so at the time, it weakens your ability to make negotiations on your behalf. A "take it or leave it" mentality might make the other side walk away, leaving you at a loss. These types of demands can also make the situation worse and escalate the conflict. Ultimatums leave no room for negotiations, and without negotiation, both sides tend to lose.
Fair versus Equitable
The term "fair" can have very different meanings for both sides during a conflict. Very often, what seems like something "fair" is just a perception. When we are angry at someone else, what we think of as fair may be a loss for the other person. When trying to resolve conflicts, it may benefit everyone to make the goal be "equitable" instead of fair. Equitable decisions take into account the conditions and limitations each side of the argument might have.
Consider What's Off-Limits
When we are involved in an argument, our emotions can get in the way of facts. We may start to use our religious beliefs, personal views, political bias, or moral codes as concrete expectations for other people. Unfortunately, when we demand that others meet our personal beliefs at all costs, what we are really saying is that the personal beliefs of other people -- if they differ from ours -- don't matter.
This not only drives other people away from us, but it also decreases our ability to speak up for our needs. Very often, what we think of as off-limit topics can be open to change or negotiation. We don't have to change our moral code or personal beliefs, but we may need to allow other people the freedom to practice theirs.
Dig Deeper and Create a Mutual Understanding
Creating a mutual understanding is easier said than done, but it’s key to successful conflict resolution. Becoming familiar with the other side and taking the time to hear their needs can resolve conflict. Very often, it’s a matter of putting differences aside and digging for common needs. See which goals are similar and find a way to achieve those goals together.
Creating Your Calm to Resolve Conflict
To deal with conflict, it's essential not to let anxiety and emotion cloud your judgment. One way to maintain your calmness is through deep breathing exercises.
CalmiGo can put you in the right frame of mind to negotiate. Simple and effective, CalmiGo allows you to think clearly and calmly -- ready to face the world.