So far in this series, we’ve looked at self-care and self-awareness. They lead to one of the most important things in conflict – self-management. We realize the importance of creating moments of care for ourselves. We recognize that by learning about ourselves, we can make a choice about how we behave. So, that leaves the behavior itself.
Self-management has four parts:
(the below is adapted from Crucial Competence by Daniel Goleman and Key Step Media)
Emotional Balance. Do you allow your emotions or impulses to guide your actions? Do you choose how you want to respond?
Think back to a conflict you have experienced in the past month. Examine your behavior, how you responded. Did you react from impulse or make a conscious choice? Knowing what you know now, what might you do differently? Take 15 minutes and journal about how you might approach the situation differently today than you did then.
Achievement Orientation: Are you ambitious? Do you set goals and go after them? Do you look to improve on things? Are you willing to take risks to achieve your goals?
Identify how you want to behave when faced with conflict. Set goals to achieve this behavior. Don’t expect yourself to reach that goal right away. Create steppingstones along the path. Define milestones that will show that you are progressing. Work your goals and review how you are doing as you go along. Revise anything that needs tweaking and keep on moving forward.
Positive Outlook: Do you believe in the positive side of things? Do you see the positive in people, situations, and events? Do you pursue goals in spite of obstacles?
Pick something in your life that you see from a negative perspective – a situation or a person. For the next month, every night before you go to bed, write down 5 things about which you are grateful regarding that situation or person. Notice how your perspective expands.
Adaptability: Are you flexible when faced with change? Can you handle multiple commitments? Do you adapt your thinking and your approach to situations, people and events?
Next time you are faced with a change, say yes when you want to say no. Don’t hesitate. Don’t worry if you want to change or not. Be flexible with decisions made by others. Look at things from the other person’s perspective. After an appropriate period of time, consider the difference between how you feel about this change and other changes in the past which you have resisted. Are you reacting in the same way now? Are you more able to be adaptable and flexible in situations of change? If not, continue to try this exercise every time there is a change in your life. See it from a perspective other than your own. Practice. Behaviors don’t change overnight.
By balancing your emotions, striving to achieve, looking at life from a positive perspective and remaining flexible in situations of change, you can learn to manage your state.
Manage your state, and you will do conflict well.