Conflict Management Tips

Check anger levels

  • Are you too angry to have a rational conversation?
  • Are other people involved too angry to have a rational conversation?
  • Is this a good time to deal with the issue?
  • Would another time be better?

Check yourself

  • Why am I angry/upset?
  • What do I really want out of this situation?
  • Who would be able to help me get that?
  • What can I do to get that?

Check out the participants

  • Who needs to be here to resolve this?
  • Is everyone here?
  • How can those people be contacted?

Create a safe space

  • What guidelines do you and others need to be honest with each other (e.g. confidentiality - what goes on here stays here)?
  • What guidelines do you and others need to be able to listen to each other (e.g. one person speaks at a time)?

Check out what other people want

  • Listen. Listen. Listen.
  • Often if you listen first, other people will let you speak.
  • Say back what you heard. Give other people a chance to clarify.
  • What do other people really want out of the situation?

Say what's going on for you

  • Be clear about what you need from the situation.
  • Explain how you feel.
  • Say what you need in a way that is respectful to you and others. Remember, the goal is for you to be heard, not to slam other people, and not to minimize your own needs (e.g. "I need my privacy. I'm annoyed cause I've said this a lot. I need you to knock before you come in." Instead of "What is your problem? Ever heard of knocking?").

Understand what the conflict is really about

  • Make sure you know what issues you are discussing (e.g. communication, chores, expectations, music…).
  • Figure out what everyone wants out of the solutions (e.g. help around the house, privacy, respect, quiet).

Look for solutions together

  • Work on one issue at a time.
  • Make a list of all the possible solutions. Be creative.
  • Pick the ones that work for everyone.

Check in later

Come back later and see how it's going.

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