The last post referred to a podcast laying out tools for civilized discussion over differences. I honestly doubt that is possible most of the time. To prepare my last Toastmasters speech, I wracked my brain for how to manage conflict. Maybe you will find value in the result.
This is a level 3 speech in the Persuasive Influence pathway. The purpose of this speech is for the speaker to better understand conflict management strategies.
Before, this is how I handled conflict: RUN AWAY. Run away! Avoid, avoid, avoid.
I don’t need to be around angry people! But this larger conflict in our country is not one I should dodge. The issues are important. How do I resolve those conflicts?
Three not-so-simple steps
First, I have to accept that some people are glued to their position and their feelings and their righteousness. I am not going to change them.
Second, I have to calm down, and keep my emotions in check so I can think clearly. When I don’t, I see RED, my words tumble around, and I lose my train of thought.
Third, I assume the person in front of me has good intentions. And that helps me see their side.
Keeping these three things in mind as I handle a conflict issue with someone helps me do the next three things for conflict management.
- Offer more information or different information
- Address the other person’s concerns
- Love or respect the person even if I don’t like their viewpoint
This last is because I won’t stick around to resolve a conflict with someone I don’t love or respect.
I will use my brother and his concerns over our parents’ long term care as an example.
- Offer more info: Since our parents have no long term care, my brother was freaking out about what would happen if and when they needed someone to take care of them. I assured him that I would do it and pay rent to cover the mortgage. Of the three siblings, I’m the only one in position to do so. I’d already had this discussion with our parents.
- Address his concerns: He was scared for them and probably feeling guilty over possibly moving to another state. I assured him it would be alright. He didn’t have to worry. It would all work out.
- Love or respect the person, if not the viewpoint: This is my little brother. I love him and his generous, sensitive soul, despite our vastly different ideas about things.
Approaching conflict with love
My dad models conflict resolution with my brother very well. No matter their differences,
CALM—LOVE THE PERSON—REMEMBER HIS GOOD INTENTIONS…
“I don’t always agree with him,
I want him to leave here knowing he is loved.”
That way we will treat the disagreeing parties as we would want to be treated.
Be willing to accept we may not come to an agreement
Assume good intentions
- Provide more info
- Address concerns
- Love or respect the person, if not the opinion
Don’t you fear. We will all get through these tumultuous times, clearer on our values and better for how hard we had to love.
If you’ve reached the end of this post, you deserve a laugh: