If you have a short temper, dealing with conflict graciously can be a daunting challenge. The way you treat people affects your friendships, romantic relationships, career contacts, and even job security.
To deal with conflict gracefully, be willing to accept change.
Follow these tips the next time you face confrontation:
1. Step out of your own shoes. Analyze the situation objectively as it will allow you to truly see both sides of the story. Why is the other person upset? What could you possibly have done to offend them or make them feel as if they were wronged or attacked? Is there any merit to their sentiment?
• Remember, most people rarely lash out without a feeling of justification. Find the reason why you’re being approached so hastily so you can figure out how to diffuse the situation.
2. Be understanding. Sometimes, all someone needs in order to calm down is to feel as if they’re being understood. Say something that will make them feel as if they have the right to feel as they do without completely throwing yourself under the bus.
• Say something that shows you care about what they have to say. Before you launch into your side of the story, seek to understand their point of view first. Find common ground and work from there to ensure a solution that you both will be happy with.
• Offer to talk about their feelings. Ask why they feel this way and truly listen without judging. It may be tempting to lash out if the other person is accusing you of doing something you clearly didn’t do. However, wait until they’re done saying their piece before you chime in with your defense.
3. Keep your fingers to yourself. When dealing with conflict, the coward’s way to liberation is simply pointing the finger at the other person. But remember, it takes two to tango.
• Take the high road by refraining from playing the childish blame game 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’ll be embarrassed by your reaction later, it’s best to choose a different, calmer approach to communication.
5. Everyone is a winner. The most gracious thing you can possibly do to solve conflict is seek an amicable outcome for everyone involved. Take a step back; analyze the situation with fresh eyes and figure out exactly what it is that all parties involved are after.
Dealing with conflict graciously is a skill that takes practice to develop, but the effort is worth it. You can diffuse conflict with a gracious demeanor, compassion for others, and a focus on the solution that makes everyone involved feel like a winner.