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Make This New Year A Conflict Resolution Knockout

New Year Conflict Resolution

The time has come and the New Year is here! It’s fine, get excited. I’m sure you have great things in store.  I also know the New Year can overwhelm many of us with unresolved conflict. You go into the New Year with the same drama from the previous year, with unclear solutions and past grudges. You make new resolutions but with no steps to get you there.

Conflict is important in our lives because it is an opportunity to communicate our unmet and unheard needs. Think about how unresolved conflict affects your life and the people around you. Why are you dragging existent conflict into the New Year? Do you have a family member you never made up with? A negative situation that happened during Thanksgiving which you haven’t addressed? An ongoing feud with a coworker? Or even a problematic neighbor? All these situations create conflict in your life and you deserve to address them in the New Year, with a new or more effective approach.

So, what are your plans for managing and resolving conflict in the New Year? Each year you make a promise to yourself, you set goals…to do something better, less, more or implementing something you never did before. Most of the time you make these decisions because you want to improve yourself, your life or the situations around you in hopes of positive outcomes. You make the common New Year’s Resolutions like lose weight, stop smoking, less drinking, eat healthier, get a better job, save money and spend more time with family with friends. While all those things are very important, what about the conflict in your life or surrounding it? What will you do differently to change the way you handle conflict in 2014. Any goals?

For Starters…

  • ·         Be willing to communicate. Extend the welcome that you are committed to something different.
  • ·         Prepare to listen.  Listen for feelings and important information from the other person.
  • ·         Do not assume anything.  Ask the person you are in conflict with to explain their intention or motivation.
  • ·         Utilize your resources. . Ask for help from a mediator, Human Resource professional, or even a mutually trusted friend
  • ·         Accept differences. It’s okay to have different opinions and interests.

Tips for managing and addressing Conflict for the New Year (Adapted from Beyond Intractability)

  • Actively Listen. Pay attention to what the person is saying and ask for clarity.
  • Speak directly to the person who needs to receive the message. Give that person your full attention.
  • Speak from your perspective. If the message involves addressing your co-worker’s many long breaks, let the co-worker know how that impacts you or your work environment
  • Speak for a purpose. Plan out what you want to say and focus on it. This will keep you from rambling when you deliver the message.

 Conflict is often due to misunderstanding, ineffective communication and having different interests or needs. This New Year you can learn how to improve those things. Make this New Year a conflict resolution knockout! For more information listen to our past podcasts How to SOLVE Your Conflicts and Become Conflict Competent: Your New Year’s Plan.

 By Tierra Henry, Graduate Student, University of Baltimore



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