Sometimes the simplest solution out of conflict is becoming someone’s friend, instead of saying goodbye forever.” ― Shannon L. Alder
Another example of using assertiveness effectively is in the area of conflict and problem solving. There is bound to be some conflict in life at one time or another. This might be with a family member or friend, someone you know online, a tricky customer, or anyone else you are in contact with.
Assertive behavior can help to resolve the situation positively for both parties, whereas aggressive behavior can add fuel to the fire!
Here are some tips for being assertive in a situation where there’s conflict:
• If you have a problem in a public online forum or group, take the problem directly to the person through private message or email. Don’t get sucked into a long public argument. No-one comes out of those well. Speaking in private allows the other person to save face, especially if it is just a simple misunderstanding. The rest of the world need not know anything about it and you can lay it to rest quickly and with finality.
• Try to speak to the person as soon as you encounter the problem. Problems left on their own and unresolved just grow bigger and bigger in the imagination. Go for a resolution as soon as you can. For example, if you know you are going to find it difficult to meet a deadline, tell the customer as soon as possible so they are not angry and frustrated later.
• Keep calm as you speak to the person and avoid getting defensive. At the same time, do not apologize for the issue you want to complain about.
• Stick to the one issue that is bothering you. Do not begin by complaining that they always do something that is irritating or they never do something you think they should do. Focus on the complaint and do not deviate from that issue.
• Before you decide to speak to the person about that complaint, ask yourself if it is something that can be changed. The saying goes, “Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and avoid the unacceptable.” Pick your battles. If it is a lost cause, move on. It is not worth beating your head against a brick wall.
- Start by complimenting the person for something he accomplished in the past. Keep in mind that no one likes criticism. He will be more likely to step forward and solve the problem, if you show that you appreciate his hard work in other areas.
- If it appears that you have a hand in the conflict, own up to it, and become a part of the resolution as well. This will do a lot towards cementing relations and showing you are a person of integrity. Always take the high road; do the right thing. Compromise does not mean you are not being assertive, it just means you know how to play fair.
Unfortunately, life is full of conflicts, big and small. However, if you can deal with a situation with assertiveness and confidence, you are likely to solve the conflict to the benefit of all concerned.
Think of any recent conflicts you have had or have been aware of. How would you handle these differently?
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