When dealing with conflict, people normally start by focusing on the other party. We wonder why they are causing problems and try to find ways to deal with them. After all, we believe it must be their fault.
Instead of this approach, try thinking about your role in creating or sustaining conflict. After all, it takes two parties to have a disagreement.
Spend time determining the root causes of the conflict, not the symptoms. Be sure you know what the conflict is about. Ask yourself if there are things you could have handled better. Your behaviors may be contributing to the conflict and deterring the group from what they are trying to accomplish.
It is important to separate your emotions from the issues as much as possible. This is difficult when you have a stake in the outcomes. We need to place the overall good above our personal concerns.
We may find ourselves engaging in conflict due to personal history with the other parties or other agendas. Solutions can be found by setting aside the past and focusing on the mutual interests of everyone involved. We need to take the time to understand their positions and the factors that underlie those positions. Finding creative solutions can help build a better relationship with those on the other side of the situation.
Some people sustain a conflict simply because they do not like to lose. Winning or being proven right becomes more important than resolving the situation fairly. Instead of digging in our heels, we need to determine the positive outcomes of resolving the conflict and decide what we need to do to resolve the situation. The negative outcomes of simply walking away may be less than those of continuing the conflict.
Conflict is never easy, but it can be a positive for the organization. If offers us the opportunity to examine the work system or relationship, consider our values, and make systemic improvements.