Our past experiences have a significant influence on how we view communication and conflict resolution today. We tend to form expectations that are not always communicated verbally, which can lead to misunderstandings. Our culture and values also shape the way we perceive and evaluate conflicts. To better understand how our background and experiences are affecting our responses to conflict, counseling can be a great resource.
Dispute resolution can be done through negotiation between the parties or with the help of a neutral third party, such as a counselor or mediator. Licensed marriage and family therapist Linda Carroll, M. warns that conversations can quickly go from complaining to criticizing if we don't take the time to understand each other's perspectives. Holding onto grudges from past conflicts can also prevent us from seeing the reality of the current situation.
To overcome communication obstacles, it is important to start the conversation smoothly, express appreciation, focus on one problem at a time, and take responsibility for our thoughts and feelings. Smaller companies that cannot yet invest in training should create a policy with specific guidelines for everyone's role in a conflict.