The key factors for resolving conflicts involve having emotional intelligence skills of self-awareness and awareness of others.
The first thing is that you have to be aware of how you’re feeling as soon as a conflict arises. That requires you to have quite a bit of self-awareness being able to identify, “What am I feeling? Oh, I have a tenseness in my stomach. Oh, that is an indication something has upset me. Okay, what has upset me? Oh, this person is behaving in a way that I don’t understand.” When you have self-awareness you can back up and take stock of the environment and of the situation. That is one of the key factors. Being aware of what is happening in someone else once you are aware what is going on with you then you can be aware of what is going on out with somebody else.
Conflicts happen because of values. A values clash. I hold near and dear, I have some beliefs as well about the issue maybe that we are talking about. The best way to describe how to understand values and beliefs, I use the notion of an iceberg. If you can imagine an iceberg 10% of it is above the water and that is what you can see. That is what everybody sees about us, it is about 10% but below the waterline is this huge big piece of an iceberg that holds our beliefs, our values, our intentions and people don’t see that. All they see are the result of all of that thinking and what is going on underneath. The area below the surface is the area that I work in to help people identify their values, their belief system, their intention, their motivation. Once they understand their own it is very easy for them to step back and look and see another’s values and identify it and communication skills in that moment are really important. So let’s say you and I are in a conversation and we have a disagreement or we have a different view on something and you approach me rather aggressively. I don’t have self-awareness so I bite back and I approach you just as aggressively. We are locked into a conflict right then and there. So imagine a different situation where we have a difference of opinion and different values and I say, “He has a different value than me. Aha! Okay. So how can I approach them to help them understand my point of view without attacking them and escalating into a conflict?” That is where the self-awareness comes in and then the other person’s awareness of the other person comes in. It allows me to step back. So once you are aware of what is going on you can step back. These are emotional intelligence factors.
Having the right language is really, really critical and noticing when someone is upset and being able to acknowledge that is really critical because that awareness of others and then acknowledging it is really important because it puts the other person at ease and it creates a more peaceful environment.