5 Communication Tips For Handling Conflicts

Communication Tips For Managing Conflict

Whether you're looking to manage a team or create better relationships between your friends and family, communication is something you have to give a lot of attention to. When you sit down with someone and make sure you're on the same page, you'll be able to work well together and get more done. Moreover, you'd be surprised how many conflicts can be resolved simply by sitting down with someone and engaging in some open and friendly communication.

Open communication is exactly what it sounds like: tackling an issue head-on and openly discussing ways to resolve it. Nothing is accomplished by letting an issue fester because neither party wants to talk about it. The discussion shouldn't be accusatory, threatening, or argumentative; rather, it should be an opportunity for all people involved to voice their opinions and be heard calmly.

1 Face-To-Face Confrontation Isn't For All

For instance, some people are most comfortable talking on the phone or chatting online. Whichever method makes you feel most comfortable is how you should approach the conflict. So long as you can voice your concerns openly, use that communication method gently.

2 Don't Make The Person Feel Nervous

Avoid making the person involved feel nervous during a confrontation. This is an extremely important thing to remember if you are in a position of authority over the person you had to confront. You want to make sure that you're looking to fix the problem and not to attack them.

3 Focus On The Problem And Not The Person

Take a moment and really consider what you need to do to make sure that you're not accusing the person or putting them down. That'll only close them off to everything you're saying. So, make sure to focus on the behavior or the problem without raising your voice.

4 Adopt An Open Door Policy

Apply the open-door policy of confrontation both at home and at work. You'll be able to effectively communicate with others if you show them that you're willing to engage with them at any time. This is an important conflict resolution strategy because it will give you a lot more face-to-face time with them in general. The more you foster an open door policy, the fewer conflicts you will have.

Remember though that change doesn't happen overnight. It's entirely possible that some people involved in the discussion will leave with hurt feelings. So long as everyone involved was treated respectfully and the issue is out in the open, you can now begin working toward a satisfactory resolution as a team.

5 Be Firm And Fair

When trying to mediate a conflict, remember to be firm and fair. Listen to all sides and give each person a chance to speak uninterrupted. No family member should be made to feel like his or her feelings don't matter.

If you want your family to hear and respect your opinions, then treat them with the same level of respect. This is an important life lesson for people of all ages to learn. You'll have a much closer-knit relationship with your children and spouse if you have a mutual understanding that you can discuss any topic at any time, without having to wait for "the right time" or for a commercial break on television.

The more frequently you use these conflict resolution approaches, the easier it will become. Rather than stepping around a sore subject, it will become second nature to have an open discussion and find a resolution. It's worth the effort to take some time and really consider what you can bring to the table when it comes to open communication and conflict resolution.

About Author

Jackie Wing

Jackie Wing is an Alaska native, who enjoys snowboarding more than is probably socially acceptable. She lives in Anchorage with her two dogs Reese and Peanut, or as she likes to call them "Thing 1" and "Thing 2."