Most people don’t want to live in the pockets of our neighbours, but these days of high density urban living can mean we can be easily rattled by things that happen over the fence and down the road. Even in well-connected neighbourhoods, tensions can heat up over simple things that irk us! These tips can help you keep some situations from boiling over. Managed conflict helps us make decisions and choices but when poorly managed, conflict and dispute can make for unhappy times and even make us sick.
Hope that a problem will just go away is risky. AVOIDANCE might make things WORSE. Hope is not a strategy so taking some action early can result in more options that lead to a harmonious existence in your street.
Manage your anger:
Anger as a FEELING can motivate us to taking positive steps to cooling down a situation. Anger that we act out as BEHAVIOUR can be destructive and give the other person the idea that you are only interested in showing how powerful you are to win your position. Keeping control of your angry behaviour can allow everyone involved to keep a clear head in conflict.
Try not to blame. Sometimes we get caught up in how situations are only caused by THEM! Try to reflect on what you are bringing to the conflict and try to stand in the other person’s shoes. When we understand the other person’s point of view we can score some ‘brownie points’ that helps us resolve the problem.
At some stage you might consider the relationship is becoming (or become) destructive. This is time to stop fueling the fire and get some help. Talk with someone who is not involved in the problem to help guide you. Double check these tips to keep you on the straight and narrow. You might need help from a mediator trained to help people resolve disputes.
When you get into swapping ideas and points of view, remember to use your ears twice as much as your mouth. The trick is to ask open questions to find out the persons interests – this can lead a negotiation away from our rigid views and positions. (open questions start with: what, who; how; when and why – just be careful when asking why? as it might seem more of a challenge than you meant)
Play the ball not the man! It is ok to challenge unhelpful behaviour. Don’t make it personal. By tackling the BEHAVIOR we can help the other person understand that your respectful approach is worth returning in kind.
By acting early and respectfully we demonstrate that playing FAIR is easier than going to war with your neighbour. It also allows people to listen to your point of view instead of hearing a list of your demands. This helps the other person stand in your shoes for a moment.
If you or your community want more information or would like to find out how easy it is to build conflict competence, please contact Wayne Marriott here.