Conflict resolution skills alone will only get you so far. How well you use those skills depends on your mindset and the habits you cultivate in yourself. Here are five game-changing conflict resolution habits that will help you use your skills optimally.
1. Take the conflict more personally
Whoever first said “don’t take it personally” was very wise but forgot to mention how hard that is. It’s hard because there’s something else you need to do first: Take it more personally. Conflict has a message for you and once you figure out what it is, you have the key to your freedom from it.
2. Give in to the conflict
Conflict is filled with resistance: Resistance to their wishes, resistance to their perspective, resistance to the anger you’re feeling, resistance to continuing, resistance to stopping, resistance, resistance, resistance. The real way to free yourself from a conflict that’s keeping you stuck is not to struggle and resist, but to practice radical acceptance.
3. Don’t always try to talk it out
Conflict resolution is generally understood as a joint exercise, something that must involve the person or persons you’re in conflict with. When you hear the phrase “conflict resolution,” you’re likely to imagine it as some kind of conversation or negotiation. That would not be inaccurate. But it would be incomplete. Sometimes, you can fully resolve a conflict all on your own.
4. When you want someone to change, work with them, not on them
The “dealing with difficult people” approach to conflict resolution has left us sidetracked, stuck, and feeling superior (bad idea, that). You’ll get far better results by looking for the equal human in front of you and addressing difficult behaviors.
5. Slow down to go fast
For goodness sake, slow down. Like the slow food movement, the slow conversation approach gives you nutritional manna for resolving problems the enduring way. You don’t get better conflict resolution results from drive-thrus.