Ok so, I wish I would have thought to write a post like this but unfortunately I didn’t and usually end up responding in the wrong ways. I would love for you to not make the same mistake as I so here is a great article that a friend sent me today. You will be glad you took 5 minutes to read this!
7 Healthy Ways to Resolve Tension and Conflict – by Carey Nieuwhof
I have learned (through trial and error), that these 7 strategies below can help me deal with conflict.
I hope they can help you.
They can work with coworkers, with a boss, with a volunteer, with a friend—with anyone you have a relationship with.
Here are 7 ways that I hope can help you resolve conflict with someone you work with:
1. Own your part of the problem
Conflict and even bad chemistry is almost never 100% one person’s fault.
One of the best expressions I’ve heard on how to figure out the extent to which you might be part of the problem is to ask a compelling question: What’s it like to be on the other side of me?
Jeff Henderson asked that question in a great series at North Point Church called Climate Change.
So…what is it like to be on the other side of you? Ask some people.
2. Go direct
Issues in the church are often mishandled because we talk about someone rather than to someone.
Your co-worker at the water cooler isn’t the problem, so why talk to him about it?
Jesus was crystal clear on how to handle conflict, but very few Christians follow his practice.
In the name of being ‘nice’ (I can’t tell her that!), we become ineffective.
Talk to the person you have the problem with. Directly. Or else just be quiet about it.
3. Give them the benefit of the doubt
The person you’re upset with might not realize how they are coming across. It’s okay to say that out loud.
“Rachel, you might not realize this, but sometimes you emails can come across as demanding or even demeaning. I’m not sure you’re aware of that, but I just wanted to let you know how they leave me feeling sometimes.”
That gives the person an out, and frankly, many times, they probably had no idea they were coming across negatively.
Giving a person an out and the benefit of the doubt preserves their dignity.
4. Explain. Don’t blame
How to talk to the person you’re struggling with is where many people struggle.
And those conversations often go sideways because people begin with blame.
Don’t blame. Explain.
Instead of saying “You always” or “You never” (which might be how you feel like starting), begin by talking about how you experience them.
If you’re dealing with an ‘angry person’ for example, you might frame it this way “Jake, I just want you to know that when you get upset in a meeting, it makes me feel like the discussion is over and I can’t make a contribution.”
If you’re you’re dealing with gossip, try something like: “Ryan, on Tuesday when you told me what happened to Greg on the weekend, I felt like that was something Greg should have told me directly.”
Do you hear the difference between explaining and blaming?
5. Be specific
Giving one or two specific incidents is much better making general accusations or commenting on personality traits. “The other day in the meeting” or “In your email on the the August numbers yesterday” is much more helpful then “You just always seem so frustrated.”
The more specific you are, the more you de-escalate conflict and move toward a hopeful ending.
6. Tell them you want things to get better
What the person you’re confronting needs is hope.
At this point, they probably feel defensive, ashamed and (hopefully) sorry.
Let them know the gifts they bring to the table and the good they do.
7. Pray for them
I know this sounds trite, but it’s not. Don’t pray about them. Pray for them.
It is almost impossible to stay angry with someone you pray for.
It can also give you empathy for them, and at least in your mind’s eye, it places you both firmly at the foot of the cross in need of forgiveness.
It will take any smirk of superiority out of your attitude, which goes a long way toward solving problems.