We have all seen those beautiful Beta fish swimming in their tanks. But, have you ever noticed that they swim alone. The reason is that if you put two Betas in the same tank, they will fight to the death. But, we aren’t fish. And, few of us think we want to be the Betas. We all want to be the Alphas. But, that is not how life works for human beings. If, like the fish above, we let out tempers get the better of us, or rule over our interactions, then we will remain stuck in life, no matter the job we hold, nor the people we enter into relationships with.
If you have a short temper, dealing with conflict graciously can seem like an almost insurmountable challenge. The manner in which you treat other people affects your friendships, romantic relationships, career contacts, and even your job security.
To deal with conflict gracefully, be willing to accept change.
Tips the next time you face confrontation:
1. Step out of your own shoes.
Analyze the situation as objectively as you can, and this will allow you to truly see both sides of the story. Why is the other person so very upset? What could you possibly have done to offend them or make them feel as if they were wronged or attacked? Is there any real merit to their sentiment?
Remember, most people rarely lash out without some feeling of justification. Find the reason why you are being approached so hastily so that you can figure out how to diffuse the situation before it becomes more volatile.
2. Be more understanding.
Sometimes, all someone needs in order to calm down is to feel as if they are being heard and understood. Say something that will make them know that they have the right to feel as they do without completely throwing yourself under the bus.
Say something that shows that you care about what they have to say. Before you launch into your side or version of the story, seek to understand their point of view first. Find common ground and work from there to ensure a solution that you will both ultimately be happy with.
Offer to talk about their feelings. Ask why they feel this way and truly listen without judging. It is often very tempting to lash out if the other person is accusing you of doing something you clearly did not do. However, wait until they are done saying their piece before you chime in with your defense.
3. Keep your fingers and your hands to yourself.
When dealing with conflict, the coward’s approach to liberation is simply pointing the finger at the other person.
Take the high road by refraining from playing any childish blame games and focus on finding a solution, rather than harboring bitterness about the issue.
4. Keep your cool.
The easiest way to blow a situation out of proportion is to act angrily. Keep your voice low and under control. Keep your arms at your side. Attack the problem from the perspective of a teammate rather than placing blame.
Dealing with conflict gracefully is about being proud of the way you react. If you feel that you will be embarrassed by your reaction later, it is best to choose a different, calmer approach to communication.
5. Everyone needs to be a winner.
The most gracious thing you can possibly do to resolve conflict is to seek an amicable outcome for everyone involved. Take a step back. Analyze the situation with a fresh set of eyes and figure out exactly what it is that all parties involved really want. What is the bottom line?
Dealing with conflict graciously is a skill that takes practice to develop, but the effort is worth it.
You can diffuse conflict with you gracious demeanor, compassion for others, and by focusing on finding a solution that makes everyone involved feel like a winner.
Join me on BasicsMatter.com on Tuesday.