Conflict is Like a Load of Laundry

Just like laundry, conflict involves a multi-step process; handling, sorting, ironing things out, folding, and putting them away. conflict

1. Sort out the issue: Many clients will state that they never come to any resolutions in their conflicts. As a result, they find themselves revisiting the same difficult conversations or situations repeatedly. When you address a conflict, it is important to clearly state the problem, and your concerns. Stay focused on one issue. Don’t try to resolve all your issues at once.

2. Handle with care. Take time to listen to each other’s perspective and feelings about the issue. Be kind on your relationship, it is key to creating an effective solution.

3. Once you have washed things up…. Put them away, don’t throw them back in the hamper. In conflict resolution, there is a need to address the issue and let it go. If you keep resurrecting all your old issues, it is either that they were not fully addressed or you are holding a grudge. In those cases, it is helpful to look at your overall attitude toward conflict.

4. From time to time there is a stubborn stain and you need to rewash. From time to time, we need to revisit an issue. New information may have surfaced, or it may require several conversations to fully hear everyone’s point of view and come to an agreeable conclusion.

5. Do a little at a time, don’t let it pile up. Addressing conflicts as they arise is more productive. People who hold back have the tendency to explode and appear irrational in their concerns. Addressing each issue as it comes up allows you to stay focused on that particular problem. It makes it easier to come up with constructive conversation and solutions.

6. It is inevitable. There will be more! Conflict is part of life. It is not a bad thing. However, it is very important that you look at your role in each conflict. Are you always competing to win, avoiding by thinking the problem will go away, or compromising and giving up what is important to you?

7. There are dozens of detergents… Explore new choices. Conflicts often arise from people thinking and feeling they have no choices. When you are involved in a conflict, don’t stay married to your ideas. Try brainstorming new possibilities. It is amazing to see how, a collaborative solution process can create new options for all involved. (Step outside the “Laundry” Box, as you move forward)

8. A little starch gives a backbone to your shirt. Having clear personal boundaries always helps. Be clear with what you need to have and protect. Also consider how you might be willing to be flexible with certain issues.

9. From time to time, you need a professional dry clean. A little professional help can go a long way in understanding how to tackle conflict differently.

Interested in learning more about conflict and how to handle it effectively? Click here for details about our next workshop.