Where ever there are human beings there will be differences in opinion and often open conflict. Most often open conflict is a power struggle.
Power struggles are recognized by the following signs:
- Refusing to make eye-contact.
- Giving the silent treatment.
- Manipulation in an attempt to dominate or control.
- Using blame, intimidating gestures, and loud voices.
- Expressing bitterness, resentment and suspicion.
- Using us and them language setting yourself apart. (you people)
- Being secretive, hiding information or activities.
- Showing disapproval or contempt for another’s point of view.
To problem solve, approach the issue as both a challenge and an opportunity.
- Know your own core beliefs: Are they positive such as ethics, fairness, and spiritual? Or are they jaded by personal experience? Carefully examine your motives before entering into a conflict.
- Before you attempt to speak, research the issue thoroughly. If it is a difference of opinion, make sure you have facts concerning the issue and not just personal opinions. If you feel some confusion concerning the facts consult an expert.
- Build trust by being transparent in all your dealing with every acquaintance:
- Make your words and actions match.
- Be accountable.
- Be truthful and have integrity in everything you say and do.
- Be reliable and predictable. (fair and balanced)
- Always seek to be fair.
- Be willing to hear another point of view and brainstorm for solutions. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes (empathy - the ability to feel with -)
- Never make a complaint or air a grievance without stating what action or behavior you are asking for.
- Ask what the other person wants? Is it in direct conflict with what you want?
If so, what is a reasonable way to solve the dilemma? Present your idea and do not take it personally if it is rejected. Tell them what’s in it for them if they come half-way and meet you in the middle. Tell them what you have to do to live up to your own integrity if they won’t budge. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree and move on without retaliating.
- Look for opportunities to support and build up everyone you associate with. You can always find something positive to appreciate about even the most difficult person.
- Build a broad network for yourself. Seek to enlarge your network of associates, with the goal of expanding your interests and opportunities.