Step 1: Cool Down

Remove yourself from the situation for a moment. When you’ve just been exposed to conflict, emotions are high and can reduce your rationale. It’s difficult to see the situation from a non-emotionally driven perspective at first. In taking a moment to reflect, you are putting yourself in a better position to communicate effectively and make decisions that will satisfy the future you. 

Step 2: Make “I” Statements

Express your thoughts and feelings with “I…” When you choose to communicate through “I” statements, it takes the pressure off of the other party who may feel a sense of accusation if “you” or “we” language is used. Using “I” helps the individual make fewer assumptions and speak their truth.

Step 3: Shadow and Reflect

As you listen to the conflicting party’s perspective, take a moment to reflect on what you have heard and paraphrase the content back to them. This action will help ensure you reach a similar understanding of the situation.

Step 4: Take Responsibility

Own how you contributed to creating the conflict. Though it’s not always easy to admit our faults when we arrive at a disagreement or misunderstanding, there are usually actions we took that got us there. Ask yourself the right questions: How did this happen? What actions of mine contributed to the current situation? Without judgement, state the facts and take responsibility of the actions that belong to you. 

Step 5: Solutions

Brainstorm ideas and next steps for how you will move forward. Even though situations of conflict are not what we generally hope for, they can provide opportunities for learning, growth, and a positive step forward. You can turn a negative situation into a positive one with your actions and mindset!

Step 6: Move Forward

When we move forward, it’s important to communicate the commitment to a way forward across all parties. Make efforts to forgive and thank yourself and others involved for handling a difficult situation in a way that has generated a positive outcome.  

These ideas have been adapted from Naomi Drew’s article “Learning Peace”. http://www.learningpeace.com/ pages/ LP_04.htm

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