Remaining in conflict is a choice. Overcoming opposition requires negotiation. By following these simple rules you can start to build mutual respect, empathy and trust and increase your chances of preventing and resolving disputes;
- Listen and show you are listening- listening is not agreeing.
- Examine your assumptions and be prepared to discard them, if you are only listening for evidence that confirms your views then you will miss opportunities to solve the problem
- Give and seek explanations not justifications – all behaviour has an explanation. When we “justify” we miss an opportunity to examine the alternatives and learn from our experience.
- Be polite and recognise the other person’s right to their dignity and feelings.
- Accept that nobody is perfect, mistakes are part of learning and criticising ourselves and others for making a mistake does not undo the past.
- Practice patience, it takes time to build trust and it takes time for some people to change their reaction to conflict.
- Thinking about your longer term interests can reduce the risk of falling prey to short term emotion.
- The only person you may expect to control is you. If you see the other person as being in charge of your situation then you are giving up your capacity to do something for yourself. Consider what you can do to make things better in the longer term that doesn’t depend on them.
- Sometimes you have to give in order to receive.
- Actively seeking collaboration will achieve more than competition.
If a conflict is escalating or stagnant reflecting privately on how closely you are following these rules can help you review your approach and change the focus from force to influence. It may feel unfair and be hard to stick to the rules if the other person does not, but life isn’t fair and when we react by trying to prove someone is wrong, or feel we must try to change them, or “teach them a lesson”, we may provoke them to respond in kind. To end a war one side must call a cease-fire before the hostilities can end.
More Services & Conflict Resolution Resources
Mediation FAQ is designed to help people who are new to mediation consider their approach and avoid some of the pitfalls that can jeopardise a successful negotiation.
Time To Talk is a one to one personal coaching service designed to help you think about conflict and reflect on what you wish to do about it.
Getting Legal Advice is our guide which contains some questions you might want to ask to clarify your legal options if you are at risk of being involved in a Court case.