Tips and techniques to use when dealing with conflict with strategies intended to help you resolve issues yourself.

Understand your own needs
Conflict is often the result of unmet needs. Some examples of needs are recognition, fairness, understanding, security, predictability and balance. Try to understand your own needs in a way that’s not just wishing for someone else to change what they’re doing.

Get a different perspective
You may be going through some challenges unrelated to the conflict, which reduce your ability to respond effectively. When you step back, you may be able to see that the issue itself isn’t insurmountable. But, because of everything else going on, you may have a lower tolerance.

Get a second opinion
Discuss the facts of the conflict with a trusted person who can help you check your perception.

Manage your emotions
Often, strong emotions make resolving conflict a challenge. Sometimes, it’s difficult to manage our emotional reactions and see what can be changed for the situation to get better. An EAP Assist counsellor can help us learn to manage our emotional reactions more effectively.

Don’t blame or shame others
When we accuse someone else or point out their flaws, their natural reaction may be to justify, defend, counter-attack or withdraw. It’s hard to be open to new ideas and resolve conflict when we think we’re under attack.

Don’t see yourself as a victim
If we believe we’re under attack, our natural reaction may be to justify, defend, counter-attack or withdraw. We may also look for evidence that everyone’s against us and have difficulty seeing positives.

Think about underlying issues
If you have conflict with someone, it’s unlikely you’re their biggest concern. In most cases, family, finances, health, reputation or security are primary issues. Consider what might be behind the other person’s behaviours.

Talk it out
Once you understand your own needs, sit down in private with the other person and seek to understand their needs. Find out what’s necessary for you both to resolve the on-going issues. Remember to resist blaming or shaming. Focus only on the solution (what changes can be made), even if the other person goes back to the problem.

Get commitment instead of compliance
When everyone involved is part of creating the solution and walking away with their dignity intact, long-term success is much more likely. When someone is threatened, forced into action, or can’t see the benefit the change holds for them, they may not feel as committed to the resolution.

Let it go
Whether the resolution is exactly what you hoped for, or just good enough, don’t let it continue to affect your well-being. Holding on to these thoughts can be damaging to your mental and physical well-being.

Sometimes, conflict seems overwhelming. We may wonder why we can’t resolve issues easily and feel frustrated and hurt. Sometimes, we may believe the conflict is someone else’s fault entirely, and don’t see our part in it. At other times, we may think it’s all our fault. It may be hard to accept, but your needs and the needs of the person you’re in conflict with are both important. Resolution happens when everyone’s needs are met.