Using Listening as a Tool to Resolve Conflict
The power of listening is one of the most underutilized tools we have in resolving conflict. People cannot transform their conflict until they feel heard. When you find yourself in conflict with your family, your co-workers, or a stranger in the grocery store, take a step back, take a deep breath, and try using these tools to listen.
- Center Yourself:
When you feel calm and patient, you will have the ability to disarm the other person’s anger rather than feeding it. Do not attempt to resolve a conflict when you are still in your raging anger; we cannot listen to one another when we are that angry.
- Focus On The Feelings:
Acknowledge the feelings that you are witnessing. “You must be feeling frustrated, is that right?” or “It seems like you’re feeling confused, is that what you’re feeling?” Remember, anger is a secondary emotion, meaning there is another emotion hiding behind anger (fear, frustration, sadness, etc.). Helping people recognize that primary emotion gets to the core of the conflict.
Share a time when you have felt a similar way or been in the same situation. This is key to letting other people know you have truly heard them.
- Problem-solve Together:
“How can I help make this better for you? What can I do in the future to ensure this doesn’t happen again?” This gives people the opportunity to assert their needs.
- Assert Your Needs:
Conflict is only transformed when all people feel that their needs were met. If you still need something to resolve the conflict for yourself, ask for it! “I understand now how my bringing too many items into the express lane frustrated you, but what I need in the future is to be spoken to respectfully.”
**If you are having trouble resolving a conflict on your own,
The Peace Center’s Mediation Services may be able to help.
Call us at 215-750-7220.**