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Conflict management skills are important in business as well as in our personal lives. We can use conflict management skills to get ahead in any area of life.
The first conflict management skill that I think would be helpful to me would be to learn to “seek first to understand and then to be understood.” I believe that this idea comes from Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This is the skill of letting go of what you want and listening to other people’s problems and perspectives. When confronted with conflict, it would be good for me to stop trying to explain my perspective and instead listen to the other person’s.
A second thing that I could do would be to focus on my needs, not on my position. In other words, when there is a conflict, I need to not focus on my particular position and how that differs from that of my opponent. Instead, I need to focus on what we each need. This can allow me to find commonalities between our respective needs.
By doing these things, I can improve my performance at work and in my personal life.
Conflict management skills allow you to grow as a person and to work through problems so that they do not become barriers to your psychological, professional or spiritual growth.
Although there are many useful conflict management skills, psychologists find several specific skills to be particularly useful during a person's developmental years. First, work to understand the problem that is causing the conflict. Look for underlying issues and not the first thing that comes to mind. For example, if you are in conflict with someone over a sports position they gained that you wanted, look for deeper causes. Your issue might not be with the person that gained the position but with coaches for perhaps unfair methods in choosing positions. The deeper issue could even be with yourself for not being better prepared.
Also, communicate with the opposition. Without communication, nothing can be resolved. Work together to understand each other's positions by truly listening. Then brainstorm ways to compromise.
Another way to manage conflict is to ask a third party to consult and listen to both sides. The third party can then mediate a conversation where you brainstorm resolutions. A third-party mediator can help to buffer emotions on both sides that might make fair communication difficult.
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