Conflict causes stress. Can we manage conflict better?

We might follow with interest the conflicts in the media,  but when things get awkward with someone we find difficult, it certainly isn’t interesting, its stressful. Whatever and whoever you feel is causing the problems, our human tendency is to see what they are doing to us. We also are not likely to feel comfortable approaching this person – most of us prefer to avoid conflict. This can mean the conflict ‘knot’ gets bigger and harder to undo.

Consider these tips to ensure that a potential conflict doesn’t grow bigger:

  • Get in early – as soon as there is tension or misunderstanding between you and someone else, take some action to sort out the problem – don’t leave it.
  • Talk to the person you have the problem with – approach tentatively, tell them that you find this uncomfortable but that you want to sort it out.

You might not find either of these easy to do. You can’t build communication skills unless you practice them. So pluck up your courage and ask to speak to the person concerned – in private. Preferably don’t discuss with others that you both work with – trying to drum up support can actually just leave you feeling that you are right and justified in feeling that they are in the wrong. This isn’t usually helpful. If you need support try to go to someone who is  independent of the situation.

Stay tuned  for more on how to have those difficult conversationsspeak-listen hands

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