Conflict arises from differences, both large and small. It occurs whenever people disagree over their values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, or desires (Segal & Smith, 2016).
Sometimes these differences appear trivial, but when a conflict triggers strong feelings, a deep personal need is often at the core of the problem (Segal & Smith, 2016).
These needs can be a need to feel safe and secure, a need to feel respected and valued, or a need for greater closeness and intimacy (Segal & Smith, 2016).
In workplace conflicts, differing needs are often at the heart of bitter disputes, sometimes resulting in broken deals, fewer profits and lost jobs. "When you can recognize the legitimacy of conflicting needs and become willing to examine them in an environment of compassionate understanding, it opens pathways to creative problem solving, team building, and improved relationships" (Segal & Smith, 2016).
Listen for what is felt as well as said. When we listen we connect more deeply to our own needs and emotions, and to those of other people. Listening also strengthens us, informs us, and makes it easier for others to hear us when it's our turn to speak (Segal & Smith, 2016).
Make conflict resolution the priority rather than winning or being right. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than winning the argument, should always be your first priority. Be respectful of the other person and his or her viewpoint (Segal & Smith, 2016).
Focus on the present. If you’re holding on to grudges based on past resentments, your ability to see the reality of the current situation will be impaired. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the here-and-now to solve the problem (Segal & Smith, 2016).
Pick your battles. Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worthy of your time and energy. Maybe you don't want to surrender a parking space if you’ve been circling, but if there are dozens of empty spots, arguing over a single space isn’t worth it (Segal & Smith, 2016).