|Deal with conflict directly instead of ignoring issue
By: Amy White
(January 4, 2009) Are there days when you feel like you are faced with nothing but one conflict after another? Have you ever felt that it is easier to avoid these conflicts, thinking, "If I ignore them, they will go away"?
You are not alone.
Research has indicated that even professionals schooled in dealing with conflict will at times choose to avoid it, ignore it or deal with it in an aggressive or unprofessional manner. Conflict resolution skills are a necessary and positive tool to have in your proverbial toolbox. At times, they are a matter of survival.
Think about it: We can be faced with conflict situations from when we get out of bed in the morning to when we go to bed each night.
"Conflict can be a good thing, and facing up to it can lead to fantastic results," according to Timothy Ursiny, certified business coach and author of Coward's Guide to Conflict: Empowering Solutions for Those Who Would Rather Run than Fight.
Among the benefits, Ursiny says, are more self-confidence, less anger, greater self-respect and more intimacy.
In order to resolve your conflict challenges, it is important to understand why people avoid conflict, determine what communication methods work best to resolve the situation and be aware of what mistakes people make in dealing with conflict.
Then, find the importance and value in developing a better understanding and tool set to deal with sticky situations.
"Depending on circumstance, the best thing to do when there is conflict situation is wait," according to Joan Davis, office manager for Pitney Bowes Management Services in Rochester. "Don't let emotions blur good judgment. Calm down, think the situation out. Try to think about both points of view before taking any action, verbal or otherwise."
Davis suggests that it is important to engage active listening skills while dealing with conflict: "When conflict conversation is taking place, really listen. Don't think about what you are going to say next or what you would like to say next. Listen to what is being said, then answer accordingly."
It's hard. It's uncomfortable. For some, it's paralyzing.
But ignoring conflict can be physically and emotionally draining, as well as uncomfortable for a much longer time than if it were dealt with directly and quickly.
By not acknowledging a conflict situation and not dealing with it as directly as possible, long-term relationship issues, work-related dissatisfaction and even health-related issues can and usually will arise.
Dealing with conflict directly also demonstrates a great deal of respect and caring for oneself, as well as kindness and compassion for the others involved in the conflict. When conflict is quickly acknowledged and resolved, less tension and drama will be felt in our homes, places of employment or social situations.
When there is an urge to avoid a conflict situation, it is best to ask yourself, "What is the worst that can happen if I deal with this directly?" Most times the "worst" is not as bad as our emotional selves will allow us to acknowledge and generally far much better than if we go the avoidance route.
While dealing with conflict or confrontational situations can feel daunting and uncomfortable, dealing directly with situations when they arise will generate the best results for us personally, as well as for our personal and professional relationships.
Amy White is a director with Pitney Bowes Management Services, an executive coach and a member of the Rochester Women's Network.White can be reached at Amy.White@pb.com.