It is no secret that our lives are full of conflict. It is what we do with that conflict that will define us as characters in our lives and for some, leaders among the many. But, properly recognizing conflict as it barrels down on you, mad and red in the face, is not without its difficulties. Most people knee-jerk and spew their venomous rage, revenge, anger, bitter, and offended self back out at the originator of the confrontation. That does not make for an integrous character in the play of life, nor does it make for a reliable leader.
It is important to remember that it is far easier to listen first, roll around in our mind what has been brought to our attention, chew on it for a bit, before addressing the situation. It is much easier because listening ensures that you hear what was said, and not just reacting to what you think was said. Far too often we assume what the other person is saying or doing and often our misinterpetation causes a chain reaction that quickly spirals out of control. And, if we are too quick to react, we can damage a relationship that renders it irreparable.
Taking it one step further, stepping away from the situation, discussing it with a neutral third party is a good way to evaluate the conflict from a new perspective. This third party can offer suggestions as to what may be going on or alternative solutions to the situation. Often, we are far to close to the situation in order to interpret it accurately. A trusted third party, not known to engage in gossip or bad mouthing, is an easy source for talking through the situation.
Finally, when you have had a moment to step back, listen, and discuss the matter with a neutral party, you can then approach the conflict with a positive and non-aggressive attitude. Great leaders are capable of listening and not simply reacting. Learning to control your tounge is a difficult exercise in strength and humility.
When emotions run high, and a conflict is in the midst, remember to listen, step back and seek a trusted third party’s advice. This will ensure a positive resolution that is not determined by emotion, but reason.