Sometimes in our attempt to avoid conflict, we tuck problems away in a corner and like the proverbial ostrich, hide our heads in the sand. But problems are like weeds. The longer they are left unattended, the faster they grow, and sooner or later we face insurmountable thicket. Conflicts are like termites. Unattended and unnoticed, they gnaw at the vital fabric of our relationships. Therefore, we need to confront and resolve problems as quickly as possible.
If conflict resolution is to be effective, care should be taken to choose the opportune time for addressing the problems lest we attempt doing the right thing at the wrong time. The setting for dialogue should also be appropriate. We should also choose the circumstances that are most conducive to dialogue. If a variety of problems exist, it would be overwhelming to attempt addressing all of them simultaneously. Usually there are a few key issues which constitute the root of bitterness
Following these strategies to help you:
- Be Bifocal – like a coin, every problem has two sides, and each parties tends to see the matter from their side only. In order for each to see the point of view of the other, there must be meaningful dialogue. Open communication is crucial to conflict resolution. Each party must be willing to talk, and each must be ready to listen. If this interaction is to be productive, we must not only express the facts of the matter, but also our feelings about the problem. Even more, we need to listen to the expression of those inner feelings. It is also important to respect the right of the other to express himself or herself without interruption.
- Be altruistic – when we understand the thoughts, feelings, and desires of each other, the next step are to put the desires of the other party before yours. This does not come easily for, by nature, we tend to want to put our self first.
- Action plan – here brainstorming is useful, all the ideas should be listed and examined, and a decision made on the options that best meet the needs of both parties. Procedures for implementation should also be agreed upon. The action plan should be specific. It should state who will do what, where and when.