How to Manage Conflict?

First of all, what is conflict? The first thing that comes to mind is that it is a disagreement between individuals or groups that may or may not become antagonistic or hostile. It is usually caused by differing sets of opinions and values which fuels the opposition of one party to another, in order to achieve their own objectives.

Conflict is unavoidable. Wherever we go, there will surely be a conflict. As a person living in society, we all must know how to manage conflict, whether it comes from family, friends, school, or work. Hence, it is up to ourselves on how we deal with all these conflicts.

First, we must accept conflict. We must remember that conflicts are natural and will happen in every relationship. We must learn how to turn it into a chance for growth, improved understanding and more communication.

Second, we must always be calm. Keeping a cool head is crucial to resolving conflict in a rational way. This is because your response to the conflict can either escalate or deescalate the situation. For example, getting angry during an argument will cause you to say things that you don’t mean, and some things once said, cannot be taken back. Your hostility will cause the other party to become defensive and lash out at you, and hence the cycle of toxicity continues, blowing the entire situation out of proportion. Even after you two work things out, your relationship might not be the same ever again.

Besides, we must also listen carefully and actively. Pay careful attention what the other party is actually saying, instead of thinking of ways to counter their arguments. Work through how you feel, find out the root cause of the problem and always remember to think things from the other person’s perspective, too.

Moreover, try to separate the person from the problem. I know it is easier said than done, but sometimes we must work together and listen instead of blaming one another. We should view the conflict as a specific problem or behavior to be solved, rather than attributing those negative feelings to the whole person. Think of it as having a “us versus the problem” instead of “me versus you” mentality. Then, make a commitment to work together to solve the issue.

Furthermore, we must also learn to compromise. Everyone gives up a little bit if what they want and no one gets everything that they want. This may lead to the best outcome for all parties because it is a fair solution to the conflict.

Sometimes, when we just can’t see eye to eye, it is better to let it go and agree to disagree. Each person has their own unique experience and take on life, and who is to say that your way is always right? Besides, being right is not what’s important. What’s important is your relationship with the other person.

Lastly, we must always maintain confidentiality. We should always remember to respect the other person’s privacy and give them a chance to explain themselves. When there is a problem, deal directly with the person involved. Always get the full picture first before venting to someone else. Remember, fueling the rumor mill will only make things worse.