There are many healthy ways to respond to conflict and to earn the respect of others during times of conflict. Last week, we looked at the first thing we should do: Empathize with the feelings of others. Today, we’ll look at 3 more ways.
As we know, being respected doesn’t come automatically—we have to earn it. One way we earn it is by how we handle conflict. Why? Because any time we’re involved in a disagreement, people will watch to see how we’re going to react.
- Pause to think before speaking. We need to consider the situation carefully, think it through before speaking, and put our minds in gear before opening our mouths. In today’s world, people quickly spout their ideas about injustices without ever thinking. Instead, we should be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
- Resolve conflict privately. Don’t start with a public protest, but try to build a bridge with the offenders first. Going public is the last resort.
- Appeal to the best in people. If you want to be respected, bring out the best in others. Don’t appeal to their worst instincts, fears, or prejudices. As the proverb says, “If your goals are good, you will be respected.”
Respect and influence go hand in hand.
To summarize, in times of conflict, follow these steps:
- Empathize with the feelings of others
- Pause to think before speaking
- Resolve conflict privately
- Appeal to the best in people
To help you put this into practice, let’s ponder some questions:
- What is your first reaction to conflict? Do you seek to understand all who are involved? If not, what can you do differently?
- Think of a time someone empathized with you. How did they assure you that they really cared?
- Think about your week ahead. What opportunities will you have to practice being “quick to listen and slow to speak”?
- Think about a time you were thankful someone approached you privately about a matter. Did your level of respect for that person increase? Why or why not?
- When has someone brought out the best in you? What opportunity do you have to bring out the best in someone else?
- Think of someone who is a sensitive leader, not an insensitive leader. What positive things about that person stand out to you?
- What unmet needs do you see in the community around you? What steps can you take to address one of those needs this week?