Everyday we deal with people. Whether it is at home, church, work, or business, we all interact with people at some point. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to interact with them more efficiently? People are amazing, but with so many different personalities, upbringings, character and integrity levels, people can be pretty complicated as well.
Since becoming involved with Life Leadership and starting my Leadership and personal development journey 10 years ago, I have read many books and acquired a lot of information on the topic of conflict resolution. This information has helped me in so many areas of my life and I am so grateful for the information. It has helped me resolve conflicts in my business, with my wife, with friends, with family, and everyone else I may have a conflict with.
When dealing with people in times of conflict there are many ways in handling it the right way. Steven Covey says, “Seek first to understand.” When in a conflict situation, you want to gain a clear perspective of the problem and ask questions before jumping to conclusions. Often our first reaction is the wrong reaction, so seeking to understand the root of the conflict will help to reduce overreacting.
Some questions you can ask yourself before jumping to conclusions are:
- Am I being overly sensitive?
- Have I obtained sufficient facts?
- Is it first hand information or passed through the rumor mill?
- Does this offence actually violate scriptural teaching or does it just conflict with my own opinions and perceptions?
- Am I responding negatively because of a previous offence?
With these questions in mind our hearts will be open to a clear understanding of the situation. Too often we jump to conclusions, offer opinions, and write people off too quickly and don’t bother to give them an opportunity to explain themselves.
When someone comes to you with third-party information and it needs to be resolved and addressed, a great way to start that difficult conversation is to say ”I’ve heard this, I’m not sure if you heard the same things and I was just wondering what your perspective on it was.”
If someone was hurt by something you said, it doesn’t mean what you said was wrong, sometimes the truth hurts. However, they’re entitled to their opinion. So as a person of character and integrity, regardless of what was said and how it was taken, your intentions were not to hurt that person, so a way to approach that conversation could be: “I am really sorry about the situation how can I make it better.” Remember to attack the problem not the person. Even though your intentions were not to hurt the person, you did and that needs to be resolved. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong.
I’ve heard my mentor Claude Hamilton ask, ”Do you want to be right or do you want to be rich?”
Relationships are key, they are what life is all about. Your entire world revolves around healthy relationships. As John Maxwell says: “Great leaders understand that their team is only as strong as its weakest link. And healthy, nurtured relationships are key in making your team operate as a well-oiled machine.” Protect your relationships by increasing your conflict resolution skills. When dealing with people, conflict is inevitable but you are responsible for how you deal with it. The results of your conflict are up to you.