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Conflict is part of our day-to-day life. We are different individuals, with different ideas, opinions and personalities. Therefore conflict can happen in our interpersonal relationships both in our personal and professional relationships. However is it possible to have a ‘win-win’ resolution in all conflicts? Or do we, at times, need to agree to disagree and be at peace with this arrangement?

 

Emotions like anger, exasperation and frustration can run high during a conflict. These might cloud our perception of the problem faced and reduce our objectivity. How can we keep focused on the problem at hand and attempt to resolve the conflict in a constructive way?

  • Active listening: Active listening can be difficult during a conflict because of all the strong emotions involved. However, it is necessary. Listen actively to understand what the other person is saying. Look at the individual’s non-verbal signals. Clarify and echo back what they say. Most importantly do not listen just to retaliate with your own view. Try and understand the others’ point of view and allow them to vent grievances. Make it clear from the beginning that any form of violence will not be tolerated.

 

  • Take ownership of your view of the situation: It is important to clarify your view of the conflict so the other can understand your perspective. Choose a neutral place where to hold discussions so all parties involved can feel safe.

 

  • Take initiative and do not let feelings and misunderstandings fester. Unfortunately many times, if the bull is not taken by its horns disputes can blow out of proportion.

 

  • Negotiation: Negotiation involves looking at all the options involved and possibly finding a solution. However, this is not usually easy especially if the parties involved hold on to their own perspectives and insist on being the ‘one who is right’. Openness to the views of others can help us re-define our ideas about the situation at hand and maybe resolve it. Be positive. Usually there is a possible solution to conflicts if all parties involved are committed to finding one…

 

 

Anna Catania is a counsellor with Willingness. She has had a special interest in working with clients facing intimacy and sexual difficulties and runs a service for families going through cancer and chronic illness. She can be contacted on anna@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.