Yesterday’s post examined a few tips on resolving disputes of a more serious nature, ones that cannot and should not be dismissed or avoided. Although sensitivity to others (and our own ability to cope with conflict) is a worthy consideration, it is often easy to just ignore a problem, particularly for some personality types. Even for those more willing or likely to engage, or for those who start out convinced they are right and others are wrong, these tips given here protect against the undesirable win/lose outcomes which say more about us, anyway! Here are five more tips that will hopefully help in sorting out issues.
6. Deal with the facts – isolating what is actually stated and seeking further clarification, where needed, will minimise interference by unhealthy emotions and remove the desire for letting off steam elsewhere (which can just fuel more anger).
7. Reflect more and react less – redrafting an email before sending, listening and reflecting back before responding impulsively, and considering why your emotions are strong, can all exemplify the need to consider your actions in avoiding the clouding of an issue (James 1:19-20).
8. More questions and fewer statements – exploratory discussions that stimulate win/win thinking and collaboration will utilise questions to invite others to speak. Statements, as if to assert fact, will shut others down and internalise their own emotions, regardless of what they appear to say.
9. Seek appropriate counsel – a handful of wise and trusted friends who know you well and can be asked to speak with honesty into your life can be extremely helpful (Proverbs 11:14). There is no place for people who encourage negative self-talk or who allow destructive talk about others. However, those who can give impartial advice and correction are invaluable. Professional counsel can achieve this, but is often unnecessarily expensive and time-consuming for less serious matters.
10. Process your emotions – again, counsellors can help, but identifying the links to your past in your strong emotions will identify why you may react the way you do.