- I recently had a conflict with a colleague of mine on my grade level. Thankfully we were able to solve it by both putting in our best effort and now we are working wonderfully together! At first I felt very offended by the situation and felt personally attacked. After I had time to process it I was more comfortable in working towards a solution. My coworker realized that she spoke to me out of anger and should have allowed herself time to calm down before confronting me. Some of the strategies I used to help us resolve this conflict were the following:
1. I shared with her exactly how I was feeling about the situation and asked her to please share with me her feeling so we could be on the same page. Once we did so we realized it was just all poor communication that led to the conflict and the same frustrations she was feeling were the very ones I had been struggling with.
I used one of the strategies O’Hair and Wiemann (2009) provided in that I accepted responsibility for the short term and long term consequences of my poor communication and I graciously expected her to do so as well – in which she did. The Center for Nonviolent Communication (n.d.) also acknowledges this principle in explaining that we must accept responsibility for our actions and how they impact others. In doing so we were able to gain each others perspective of the situation which really helped both of us to see the situation at hand was not intentional. The Third Side (n.d.) explains how distancing yourself from a situation can help you to gain others perspectives. To a point we did this by removing our personal wants and frustrations to learn from each other. Therefore – In doing so this led me to the second strategy –
2. I compromised – That is I swallowed my desire for receiving credit for the ideas and lessons I created. I swallowed my pride of self-righteousness and began sharing ALL of my ideas with her. This was a process and before it began I asked if she would please mind sharing ideas with me as well so that I would not feel as though I was giving away all of my hard work.
The reason our conflict was so easily resolved was because we both went into it with the approach of a win/win. The Center for Nonviolent Communication (n.d.) acknoweldges how successful these solutions can be because both people are committed to seeing a resolution take place. I am very thankful that my coworker wanted to resolve the situation and was committed to working towards a solution along side of me. This made all the difference in our situation! It also made it that much easier to resolve.
When asking my colleague for her input on how be an effective communicator as it relates to conflict resolution skills she answered without hesitation. She said our conflict reminded her of these thoughts. Her response included the following:
– Do not allow your emotions to cause you to do or say things you regret. Instead sleep on it. Take a night or two and allow yourself to calm down before approaching the situation.
– Always go to the person or group of people you are in disagreement with. Do not go to someone else out of frustration – it just ends in hurt feelings.
– Be willing to make changes to resolve the conflict. Do not go into a situation with a mind set of knowing exactly what is going on and how it needs to be fixed.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication. (n.d.). The center for nonviolent communication. Retrieved from http://www.cnvc.org
O’Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2009). Real communication. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
The Third Side. (n.d.). The third side. Retrieved from http://www.thirdside.org