May 14, 2010, Newsletter Issue #304: Solve Conflicts in Relationships

Tip of the Week

Solve Conflicts by taking the LEAD
Conflict is not in and of itself a bad thing. In fact, conflicts in relationships can be constructive when used as a vehicle for improving communication. The following four steps can help you use conflict as a tool for gaining clarity, creating deeper understanding and strengthening relationships.
When you are in the midst of conflict, take the LEAD to manage it respectfully and calmly.
Listen to what is being said. Many times, conflict arises from a simple lack of understanding or miscommunication. Avoid making assumptions about what you hear. Instead, ask for clarification. For example, “I heard you say X, is that what you meant?”
Explorethe feelings that come up – Sometimes conflict escalates because something about the situation is an emotional trigger for us. If you’re feeling upset by the conversation, try to determine where the feeling is coming from. Take several deep breaths and try to remember that what is happening now is completely separate from the past. You can manage conflict more effectively if you deal only with the matter at hand. When you start introducing memories and past sleights it will be tough to get past the history of bad feelings to work toward a positive outcome.
Affirm theother person’s point of view. You don’t have to agree to understand the other point of view. Simply acknowledging and validating someone’s feelings can be a powerful tool for resolving conflict positively. At the end of the day, most people just want to be heard.
Decide on a fair course of action. Now that you have a clear idea of what the problem is and where the person is coming from, it is time to explore some solutions. Throw out some ideas that you can vet together. Choose the soundest option that you can agree on. Plan to revisit your decision within a specified period of time to see how you are doing and what changes, if any, need to be made.

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