Strategies to Resolve Conflicts Effectively
Dealing with difficult people is a situation everyone faces at some point, and they may be argumentative, stubborn, or verbally abusive. However, mastering the skill of standing up for yourself without adding fuel to the fire takes practice and time, but it will prove effective at resolving conflicts peacefully.
In many cases, anger is a displaced emotion - angry people cry to be heard and understood. They want to know they are important but need help with the reasoning skills to constructively convey their thoughts and feelings. Listed below is an explanation of strategies that will help you resolve conflicts for the well-being of everyone involved.
- Stay Calm & Collected
Let the flood of anger run its course by staying calm and quiet. Angry people often lash out in an attempt to provoke you. Arguing back is ineffective because it only fuels their anger and doesn't work to resolve the root of the conflict.
- Allow Others to Speak
Letting anger out is mentally and emotionally taxing, which causes a person to "burn out" quickly. Since the cause of anger is often a lack of feeling heard or important, allowing an angry person to express themselves reinforces these desires. It's also important to remember that some people cannot express themselves productively, and you should never take this personally by believing it's your fault.
- Consider Opposing Viewpoints
Place yourself in their shoes, and imagine being on the receiving end of combative statements. It's doubtful that hearing "You're wrong" or "You're just being dramatic" will make you feel better. Instead, focusing on points of agreement helps establish building blocks to repair damage caused by conflicts.
- Validate Mutual Understanding
This proves to the other person that they are being heard and validated. In addition, genuinely agreeing with their point of view steadily breaks down the barriers built by anger. In turn, they become more likely to see reason, more motivated to resolve the conflict, and view you favorably as respectful and mature.
- Enforce Your Boundaries
Remain calm, yet firmly state, "You're speaking out of intense anger at the moment, and I don't believe you mean what you say (allow the benefit of the doubt). So it's best to excuse myself; we can resume the conversation after you've calmed down." Then ensure one of you leaves the room.
- Accept Responsibility When Appropriate
A positive, reinforcing statement would be, "You are quite right. I am clearly in the wrong; here are the steps I'll take to fix it". Even if it's unclear who's at fault, provide the benefit of the doubt anyways. A statement that shows this would be, "I may be at fault here. Let's look over the facts together so we can get to the heart of the issue".
These statements carry incredible power; they validate the other person's perspective and soften the tension in the middle of a conflict.