Basic steps must be followed when talking through a problem in order to avoid creating hard feelings and misunderstandings. We have all observed the futile results of people attempting to talk through a problem, only to discover that greater complications were the fruit of their labors. 3 basic steps can make or break this problem solving process and assist us in becoming more efficient communicators.
These three steps for conflict resolution require anger management, remaining focused on the problem and listening objectively.
- Never attempt to talk through a problem while angry. Emotions can take a logical conversation and distort it into something confusing and painful. It is sound advice to count to 10 before expressing your opinion. Anger has the potential of distorting our priorities and common sense. A cool head is required to achieve conflict resolution.
- Begin by stating the basic objective problem. Eliminate personal feelings and bias. Keep the objective problem in focus and restate the problem every time you feel the conversation taking a detour. Too often we begin on a very honest quest in search of conflict resolution, only to find our discussion rambling into unrelated and controversial subjects. The detour may well lead to hard feelings and wasted time.
- Listen to your opponent's position. Examine it for logic and wisdom. As difficult as this may seem, somewhere between your differing points of view may lie the elusive answer. It takes a great deal of maturity and wisdom to listen to an argument that opposes our point of view and objectively evaluate it for merit. Often this can be achieved under the guise of professionalism. We can cloak our emotions behind the curtain of our professional training and skill.
These principles can be utilized in every area of our life. These steps apply to dealing with a strong willed significant other, a teenage stepchild, or an elderly parent. We must take a time out to gain control of our emotions, keep our focus on the basic problem to avoid becoming sidetracked, and give our opponent the benefit of the doubt and listen to their reasoning.
To learn more about mediation/ conflict resolution, you can download our brochure in PDF format.