A Lecture Presented By Ewere Okonta At The Commity Of Dedicated Friends (CDF) Third Distinguish Lecture Series, Held On 28th, February 2021 Topic: Conflict Resolution Skills
Conflict is a normal part of any relationship. After all, two people cannot be expected to agree on everything, all the time.
The key is not to avoid conflict but to learn how to resolve it in a healthy way.
When conflict is mismanaged, it can cause great harm to a relationship, but when handled in a respectful, positive way, it provides an opportunity to strengthen the bond between two people.
Whatever the cause of disagreements and disputes, by learning these skills for conflict resolution, you can keep your personal and professional relationships strong and growing.
What causes conflict?
Conflicts arises from differences, both large and small. It occurs whenever people disagree over their values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, or desires. Something these differences appear trivial, but when a conflict triggers strong feelings, a deep personal need is often at the core of the problem.
These needs can range from the need to feel safe and secure or respected and valued, to the need for greater closeness and intimacy.
Think about the opposing needs of a toddler and a parent. The Child’s need is to explore, so venturing to the street meets that need. But the parent’s need is to protect the child’s safety, a need that can only be met by limiting the toddler’s exploration.
Since these needs are at odds, conflict arises. The needs of each party plays an important role in the long-term success of a relationships. Each deserves respect and consideration.
In personal relationships, a lack of understanding about differing needs can result in distance, arguments, and break-ups. In the workplace, differing needs can result in broken deals, decreased profits, and lost jobs.
When we recognize conflicting needs and are willing to examine them with compassion and understanding, it can lead to creative problem solving, team building, and stronger relationships.
Key takeaways in conflict resolutions:
- A conflict is more than just a disagreement. It is a situation in which one or both parties perceive a threat (whether or not the threat real)
- Conflicts continue to fester when ignored. Because conflicts involve perceived threats to our well-being and survival, they stay with us until we face and resolve them.
- We respond to conflicts based on our perceptions of the situation, not necessarily to an objective review of the facts. Our perceptions are influenced by our life experiences, culture, values, and beliefs.
- Conflicts trigger strong emotions. If you are not comfortable with your emotions or able to manage them in times of stress, you won’t be able to resolve conflict successfully.
- Conflicts are an opportunity for growth. When you are able to resolve conflict in a relationship, it builds trust. You can feel secure knowing your relationship can survive challenging and disagreements.
How do you respond to conflict?
Do you fear conflict or avoid it at all cost?
If your perception of conflict comes from painful memories from early childhood or previous unhealthy relationships, you may expect all disagreements to lead to conflict as demoralizing, humiliating, or something to fear.
If you are afraid of conflict, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When you enter a conflict situation already feeling threatened, it’s tough to deal with the problem at hand in a healthy way.
Instead, you’re more likely to either shut down or blow up in anger.
Healthy and Unhealthy ways of managing and resolving conflict:
Unhealthy Responses to conflict:
- An inability to recognize and respond to the things that matter to the other person.
- Explosive, angry, hurtful, and resentful reactions.
- The withdrawal of love, resulting in rejection, isolation, shaming and fear of abandonment.
- An inability to compromise or see the other person’s view.
- Feeling fearful or avoiding conflict; expecting a bad outcome.
Healthy Responses to Conflict:
- The capacity to empathize with the other person’s viewpoint.
- Calm, non-defensive and respectful reactions
- A readiness to forgive and forget, and to move past conflict without holding resentment or anger.
- The ability to seek compromise and avoid punishing.
- A belief that facing conflict head on is the best thing for both sides.
The ability to successfully resolve conflict depends on your ability to:
Manage stress quickly while remaining alert and calm. By staying calm, you can accurately read verbal and nonverbal communication.
Control your emotions and behaviour. When you’re in control of your emotions, you can communicate your needs without threatening, intimidating, or punishing others
Pay attention to the feelings being expressed as well as the spoken words of others.
Be aware of and respect differences. By avoiding disrespectful words and actions, you can almost always resolve a problem faster and easily.
We should strive always from letting disagreement generating to conflicts. Even when it results to that, we should always adopt healthy Responses to conflict resolutions.
Thank you for listening and God bless you all.