In a conflict, it is difficult to keep your focus on the goal.
Take this Taekwondo fighter. He's missed out on the bronze medal and he's pissed. In his rage, he kicks the referee. No doubt he's blowing off a lot of steam, but he's also saying goodbye to any chance of an Olympic medal - which, after all, is what he wants.
You'll only achieve your objective if you focus on it.
Ask someone in the aftermath of a conflict: "Did it turn out alright?" The answer is always "yes".
When you're in the middle of the storm of a conflict, It always seems more serious than it is. Try to be conscious of this during the conflict. It will give you serenity.
During the stare-off in the freefighting ring on New Year's eve, Heath Herring floored his opponent Yoshihiro Nakao before the starting bell. He yelled: "He kissed me on the lips like a homosexual!" he shouts. "I'm not gay!" Herring is disqualified and Nakao wins without landing a single blow - but with a well-placed kiss. Yoshihiro "Kiss" Nakao found Herring's weakest spot.
In conflicts, you're not always sure what it is that's bugging you. So, be conscious of your subconscious. Explore your gut feeling. Find out where that unpleasant feeling comes from. Do you feel unappreciated? Excluded? Humiliated? Are they not taking you seriously? Or do they question your professionalism? These are the five most common causes for conflicts. By identifying the cause you contain your frustration. This decreases your chances of acting impulsively and further worsening your position. An added advantage: while you're exploring, you're also taking time out for yourself.
Are you facing a selfish boss, creditor or a annoying client? Is he letting you have it? Denials, insidious insinuations, low blows or downright insults?
Don't take it personally. Stay cool. Think of yourself as the representative of your own virtual limited liability company: "Me, myself and I, Inc." All those words will flow of you, like water off a duck's back.
￼Is the other guy extremely unreasonable? Does he claim he’s right, but is the guy unquestionably wrong? Many would react by trying to justify his conduct. However, there is no justification. But there is an explanation. He simply wants to win, to triumph. Typical alpha-male behavior. So, forget justification. Just identify your opponent's alphamale driver, and you have the key to solving your conflict.
Keep in mind that knowing what you're going to say is useful, knowing what you're not going to say is crucial and saying what you shouldn't have said is fatal.
If you're hard on the other party, you'll create a conflict.
If you're soft on the issue, you'll end up regretting the concessions you make.
So, be hard when it comes to the issue at hand, but soft on the person across from you.
Being hard means that you stand by your principles, by what is essential for you. You don't make any unacceptable concessions. This may be the most valuable lesson in conflict management.
That little, five-letter word, "sorry", is priceless. If you really mean it when you say it, you'll clear up more problems than a team of pricey lawyers.
A tight contract and a top lawyer might be effective, but goodwill offers you even better protection. If you've got your rival's goodwill, he's less likely to take you for a ride. Goodwill prevents conflicts. Develop goodwill by investing in the personal relationship. No wonder Russians first get drunk together and Finns share a sauna. Friendship first, then down to business.
US insurers investigated which doctors are more likely to be taken to court for their blunders. Their conclusion: the unpleasant ones. Patients don't sue doctors they like. By listening well, being reasonable, explaining and, even, frankly admitting mistakes, you too can minimize the chance of a conflict. So, be nice!
If you believe your opponent is an immoral scoundrel, then you'll go looking for hard evidence to prove it. You want to convince yourself and the outside world that you're right. And he who seeks shall find. This happens a lot - it's called confirmation bias. Do you do this? Well, stop doing it. Try to find evidence to the contrary, for evidence that you're wrong. Not easy, but possible - and very inspiring. Chances are you'll discover another angle from which to approach your conflict, which will lead you closer to a solution.