Posts Tagged ‘managingconflict’

10 QUICK TIPS TO RESOLVE FAMILY FEUDS

Families can be our greatest source of joy as well as a never ending cause of stress. Comprised of a diverse blend of personalities, families are a mixture of quirky behaviors, opposing viewpoints, various needs, beliefs, and values, along with opposing methods of how members perform certain tasks. Being unskilled at even the most basic aspects of resolving conflicts, as most of us are, can result in minor differences escalating our stress levels and causing tempers to flare. Keep in mind that every member, regardless of how easy-going, intelligent or advanced in age, contributes to the dynamics of the family unit. Some may overtly create drama while others do so in a more discreet manner. Recognizing the subtleties of each person’s actions along with understanding the motives behind them can better enable individuals to address the underlying (or real) issues and find reasonable solutions.

It is critical, however, that each party recognize their own contributions to the so-called problems of the family while vowing to become part of the solution instead. Therefore, before engaging in the process, ask yourself the following questions: What has my role in this situation been? How have I contributed to the breakdown of our family unit? Is it my attitude, actions, words, or lack thereof? On every level, we are either part of the problem or part of the solution. I must first take inventory of my destructive contributions before I can expect to achieve any degree of success with other members. Assuming I have successfully completely this task and corrected any transgressions , I can now proceed using the following 10 strategies to resolve family feuds:

1. As respectfully as possible (it is always possible), and without making accusations, clearly and succinctly identify the area that needs attention. State facts only, not opinions.
“We need to address the imbalance of chores in our family to make certain each person is doing their fair share.” I need not go into a lengthy dissertation about how I do the bulk of the work and specifically what chores I’m burdened with while pointing out that my lazy good-for-nothing brother spends all of his time with his friends and never lifts a finger around the house. Name calling, blame, and exaggerations never fair well in resolving family disputes.

2. Remove all distractions such as all technology, small children or any projects you may be working on. This enables all parties to be fully engaged with one another.
Expect that for the next 15 or 30 minutes or so, everyone involved will focus their full attention on discussing the issue at hand. If necessary, write down the subject matter on a piece of paper that can easily serve as a visual reminder of what issue is being addressed. Refer to it whenever necessary.

3. Allow each party ample time to state what is on their mind without interruption. In this way, each individual will relax knowing they will have adequate time to express their thoughts and concerns.
Assign a facilitator who will direct and manage the course of the discussion. The use of an egg timer (or watch) can be a valuable asset. Initially each person is given 2-3 minutes to state their concerns or position. When everyone has had the opportunity to speak, the discussion can be opened to random comments. Provide the “speaker” with a small device to hold, such as a pencil. No one may interrupt whomever holds the pencil. The facilitator will ensure each person is granted equal time speaking by passing the pencil on to the next family member.

4. Validate their perspective. Consider their feelings, needs, desires, and such as valid as your own, even if you vehemently disagree with them. Listen with your heart, not simply your ears. This is compassion.
Remember that for each individual their feelings, perception, desires, etc are as valuable and real to them as yours are to you. You need not share them in order to understand this concept. Be gracious and thoughtful.

5. Ask questions to gain deeper insight into what they are saying.
Typically, people will make statements, form judgments, or argue with their opposing family member. True resolution is attained by each person’s willingness to better understand the others. Rather than state, “You only think about yourself”, ask “How did you come to this decision? Have you considered how it would impact those around you?”

6. Avoid criticizing or making fun of them. Be respectful at all times.
Contrary to popular belief, respect does not need to be earned. It is a God-given right of all human beings. The word itself means “to value”. To respect someone simply means that you recognize their worth as equal to yours and all of humanity. Their opinions, beliefs, and behaviors may be questionable but we are none of those. Attack the problem, not the person; comment on the actions, never belittle the individual. Be certain you understand the difference – it’s critical.

7. Avoid blame or accusations. Both are destructive and will sabotage any progress from occurring.
When something goes awry, we need a target to direct our anger at. Blame reveals a lack of introspection and self-accountability. It is self-defeating and robs us of our personal power. Accusations are assumptions based on supposition rather than fact. Dealing with fact-based information is significantly more productive.

8. Inquire as to what they need from you for this issue to be resolved. Listen open mindedly and non-defensively. Discuss whether or not you will be able to accommodate their needs. Make any necessary adjustments.
Expressing concern for the other party’s happiness, safety, success, etc is the beginning of building trust. This is the foundation for all healthy relationships and a critical component for effectively resolving disagreements. People are more inclined to cooperate with those they trust as they know the other person has their best interest at heart as well as their own. Be generous in this area. You will be well rewarded.

9. State your position, needs, feelings, wants, etc. Express what you need from them in order to put this issue to rest. Make certain your requests are fair and reasonable.
Generally speaking, your needs are as important as the other party’s. I say generally because there are instances where an issue matters more to one person than it does to the other. In situations such as these, one can concede and allow the other to obtain what they need. However, if you feel strongly about your position, put forth a reasonable request and be certain that on some level yours are being fulfilled as well.

10. Compromise. A “winner takes all” mentality is never a solution. All parties must feel satisfied in some way in order for the issue to truly be resolved once and for all. Thank them for taking the time to work through this issue.
Finding the middle ground is a sign of truly caring about the other person. Again, this is a building block of trust and trust fosters healthy, sustainable relationships. Respect and trust convert to cooperation, a necessary component to comprehensive conflict resolution. Put your ego aside and consider the other person as you would want them to consider you.

Families will always disagree on things but our differences needn’t escalate into full blown family feuds. Each member plays a vital role in the wholeness and integrity of the unit. When we learn to embrace the uniqueness and giftedness of each individual, we can utilize those qualities to strengthen and enrich the whole. And we can finally live in harmony with and enjoy our families, free from fighting and drama.

Q: “The only way to peaceful coexistence is through compassionate understanding and support. Allow each family member to be who they are, always encouraging them to be the joyful people they were created to be.”

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TEN TIPS TO DIFFUSE A VOLATILE SITUATION

We are living in a very volatile and dangerous age. Not only have issues of domestic violence, child and animal abuse, anger in the workplace and so on been more apparent, but we are definitely witnessing a rise of violence within our communities. Gangs and individual assaults seem to be taking a back seat to protests by militant groups claiming to seek justice but who in actuality are promoting and engaging in acts of violence themselves. What could be a peaceful gathering intent on seeking a reasonable solution to a problem escalates to one of violence and often bloodshed. Angry and passionate individuals determined to right an injustice only create further mayhem by advocating and engaging in the very acts they condemn.
But is it possible for large masses of angry individuals to successfully , reasonable, and peacefully find solutions to perceived issues of extreme injustice? Yes, if both sides follow these ten recommended tips:

1. Approach other party(s) in a non hostile non aggressive way. By taking a non threatening approach the other party feels relatively confident that they are not at risk physically or otherwise and therefore the need for a defensive response is unnecessary.
2. Be open minded and fair in the way you present your grievances. Refrain from using such phrases as “you always”, “we never” “it can’t”. In each case, one assumes a scenario that is not necessarily true, appears extreme and unrealistic, and creates a mindset of preconceived defeat.
3. Be respectful in the way you speak to and treat one another. Passion need not translate into disrespectful or degrading conduct towards the disagreeing party. Always be mindful that the amount of cooperation you receive from the other party is in direct proportion to the amount of respect you afford them. So be generous.
4. Deal with facts, not simply feelings. Too often we rant about how angry or hurt or offended we are. Dealing with facts enables us to more accurately see the true nature of the incident. Adding feelings to the dialogue lends a deeper level of understanding as to how the incident is impacting both sides.
5. Keep everything in the proper perspective. Exaggerating may add an element of drama but is only effective on stage. Deal with the serious issues and leave those of lesser importance for another time.
6. Remove any extraneous issues; stick to the original topic. When discussing a serious issue, refrain from going off on tangents. It’s easy to become distracted by related issues but only takes precious resources away from the primary one.
7. Refrain from any inflammatory or accusatory statements. Quickly diffuse any that may occur. Accusations, blame, assumptions, and exaggerations can all incite. There are those who will deliberately try to provoke the other into losing control. Be aware of the intent and nature of every comment and quickly diffuse anything that can escalate to something more serious. Don’t ever take the bait.
8. Listen objectively with the intent to understand the other person, to gain deeper insight into the nature of the conflict, and to extract any possible solutions or partial solutions offered by the other party.
9. Be willing to compromise, recognizing that each side believes their position is valid and correct.
10. Show appreciation for the time and effort the other side has put forth. A little appreciation goes a long way and can enable both sides to reach a peaceful resolution more efficiently and quickly.

With true concern for the well-being of each other and a sincere desire to resolve the issue peacefully, anyone can find a reasonable solution to any challenge by following the above Ten Tips. It can be challenging but with practice and determination and a sincere regard for justice, one can realize the path to coexisting harmoniously with others. And we certainly are all deserving of that.

Let me reiterate: “The amount of cooperation you receive from the other party is in direct proportion to the amount of respect you afford them.” Be generous.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

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DIFFUSING FAMILY TENSION

I’ve spent over twenty years working with families as a spiritual life coach. Many of my clients divulge painful or embarrassing situations that their families are struggling with, believing there must be something wrong with them since other families they know appear so well adjusted. I assure them that even in the most seemingly normal families there are often veiled matters of concern. Dealing with tension and strife in our family units can present unique challenges. In our social environments we can more easily disengage or remove ourselves from problematic circumstances. But when your sister marries someone who defines the very essence of drama, exiting may not be a logical option. Is there a way families can reduce the amount to tension between them? While we may not be able to completely eliminate it, we most certainly can take measures to make family interactions more enjoyable.

1. Always be polite and cordial to every family member, even those you may not be particularly fond of. Avoid ignoring or showing favoritism as it can easily lead to hurt feelings, jealousy, and resentment.
2. In disagreements, refrain from using the terms right and wrong. Leave your ego out of all discussions and respect each person’s position.
3. Don’t second guess other people’s motives for what they are saying or doing. If you are uncertain, either give them the benefit of the doubt or ask questions to gain further clarity.
4. Avoid engaging in hot topics. If someone initiates a discussion known to evoke intense emotions, redirect the conversation to a more neutral issue. Likewise in regard to fuel-injected statements, those comments that are designed to anger the other person: “You Always…”, “I Never…”, “You have a problem!” “ANY” Words: Always, Never, and You can be toxic in conversations. Ban them from your vocabulary.
5. If you have an issue with a particular family member discuss it with them in private. Do not invite others into the conversation. Respect their privacy. Remember: too many cooks spoil the soup. Be respectful by refusing to gossip or speak unkindly about the individual with others as well.
6. Never interfere with the relationship between one family member and another. If you do not care for someone, at the very least be tolerant of others who still do.
7. Leave the past where it belongs. Do not dredge up old issues or reopen past wounds. Address current issues only.
8. If you find yourself becoming upset with someone, stop and discern what is really troubling you. Very often it has nothing to do with the other party. They may be triggering an unresolved issue within you that needs healing.
9. Whenever possible and appropriate, use humor as a way of diffusing tension. -appropriate being the optimum word.
10. In any situation, we have the option of being an instigator, participant, or healer of family tension. Always choose the latter. Be the voice of reason, the peacemaker, the example for others to follow. And if for some reason you cannot contribute to the well-being of your family then at the very least do not contaminate it further.

Family members may not always cooperate with your efforts. But remember: you are not here for their approval, you are here to please God. In the words of St. Francis: “Lord make me an instrument of your peace.”

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