In every relationship, personal or professional, you will be exposed to conflict. The construction industry is no different, conflict seems to be a daily challenge or opportunity depending on how you view things. In today’s building environment, we find ourselves under pressure to meet the demands placed on all parties. Owners, architects/engineers and contractors are under pressure to meet the goals and objectives of a project. This pressure to perform is exasperated by subcontractors stretched thin by a reduced labor force who are also at times unqualified.
While conflict cannot be avoided, it isn’t always a bad thing. Conflict can bring hidden issue to light, it can be an opportunity to understand others perspective and improve relationships. Here are 10 ideas to resolve conflict and improve relationships:
1. Make sure that improved relationships are a priority
2. Keep people (and their emotions) separated from the problem
3. Build mutual respect and understanding by trying to solve the problem together
4. Listen first, define the problem, find common areas of agreement, no matter how small
5. Become mindful of your nonverbal communication
6. Avoid behaviors that add fuel to the fire – criticism, stonewalling & defensiveness
7. Take responsibility for yourself
8. Be open and flexible
9. Focus on what you can control and let go of the rest
Over the years I have personally dealt with a lot of conflict and have learned that it’s best to come to a resolution sooner than later. Thinking that a problem will go away or get better on its own never ends well. It usually results with hardened feelings, perception of distrust and an unwillingness to compromise. Even though resolving conflict is sometimes uncomfortable to face, doing so will result in better relationships, personal growth and increased wisdom.