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Faith Wood knows how to resolve conflict. Her years in front-line law enforcement taught her how to effectively de-escalate any situation to a successful conclusion. Faith will use her knowledge of conflict management to guide you through the often stressful experiences you may encounter in your personal or professional life.

Faith WoodNo matter how much you like the other person, at some point, conflict is likely to happen.

While most conflicts are fairly small (like trying to decide where to go out for dinner), left untended, a conflict can fester and grow.

That’s why it’s so important to resolve conflicts in your relationships before they have a chance to take on a life of their own.

How do you go about doing that?

Start by listening

But don’t just listen to the spoken words; note the feelings behind them as well. It’s the emotions that drive the conversation, after all.

By listening actively – pausing to ask questions, clarify and reiterate what you think the other person is saying – you tell the other person that what they have to say matters. And more importantly, you’re letting them know that they’re being heard.

Look for a resolution over being right

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Giving up the notion that you have to ‘win’ is where you start seeing the solutions. Conflict is not a competition.

Stay in the moment

Instead of focusing on what happened that brought you into this conflict, pay attention to what’s going on right now.

Now isn’t the time for blame. Instead, look for solutions.

Decide what’s important right now

That’s called ‘picking your battles’ and is essential in determining whether a thing is worth fighting over.

Ask yourself if this is just an issue over a minor annoyance that will be quickly forgotten or if you have something deeper going on that maybe needs to be addressed.

Know how and when to disengage

That means being able to do what it takes to walk away. It might be forgiveness is in order. It might be that you’re just going to need to agree to disagree.

Worst case scenario? It might be time just to let the matter go entirely.

Whatever the case, there’s nothing to be gained by staying in the conflict.

Resolving conflicts isn’t a hard skill to learn. By following these tips, you will discover how better to deal with conflict in every kind of relationship – whether business or personal.

So take heart – a misunderstanding doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Instead, look at your conflict as a step toward better understanding that will, in turn, lead to better relationships in the long run.

Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications.

For interview requests, click here.

The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

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