Summer is a time of conflicts. Riots start. Governments break. Conflicts around screen time amplify. Marriages end. The most common time to file for divorce is, in fact, right after the summer holidays.
It makes summer the best time to practice conflict management skills.
At Fika, we love conflicts. Well, we like healthy and productive conflicts. We try to fight or argue at least 20 percent of the time. We believe conflicts are essential in all kinds of relationships, whether professional or personal.
But we also believe that is wise to learn and practice some skills, in order to not shy away from, but rather turn a conflict into a healthy and productive one.
Some of the skills are the same as we use in bubble-hopping, silo-bursting, and similar practices: listening, asking and sharing. Others are more specific for conflict management.
Ian Leslie, a British journalist, offers good advice in his book “Conflicted: Why Arguments are Tearing Us Apart, and How They Can Bring Us Together”:
Make sure that you make the person you have a conflict with, feels good about themselves. Love bomb!
Ban the use of “you”. Or use it sparingly.
Forget trying to control how the other person thinks or feels. And whatever you do, don’t tell anyone what (you believe) they are thinking or feeling.
Don’t assume that you are normal. You might seem strange to someone else.
Arguments tend to repeat themselves. Introduce something new. Be creative.
Be real. Try to make an honest human connection.
Use looping and check if you have understood the other person correctly.
Celebrate losing an argument – it is such an important part of a democratic society.
And, perhaps most important of all, be curious. Instead of trying to prove that you are right, try to be interested – and interesting!
There are, of course, many more conflict management skills. What are your favorites?